HR Groups Urge UK Foreign Secretary to Call for Nabeel Rajab's Release

HR Groups Urge UK Foreign Secretary to Call for Nabeel Rajab's Release
Bahrain Mirror, 06 Feb 2017


More than 20 human rights figures and organizations sent letter to the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, urging him to call on the Kingdom of Bahrain to release Nabeel Rajab.
In the letter published on the Index on Censorship website, they stressed that "in light of recent developments in Bahrain, we write to raise our deep concern over the punitive trials of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who is being prosecuted in three separate cases for exercising his right to freedom of expression."
"As Foreign Secretary you have re-committed your Office to counter the shrinking of civil society space and promote the work of human rights defenders. We therefore urge you to give effect to this commitment by calling for the release of Nabeel Rajab," they added.
"We strongly believe that the UK, following your and the Prime Minister's visit to Bahrain in December, and particularly now that the UK has regained a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, should review its current policy on the human rights situation in Bahrain, publicly condemn regressive measures and call for the release of Nabeel Rajab and others detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression such as Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society," the HR groups further noted.
They went on to say that "the UK's significant historical, economic, security and political ties with Bahrain incur a responsibility to acknowledge and criticise negative human rights developments within the country. The UK's voice is strongly heard in Bahrain, and we urge you to act publicly and promptly in support of Nabeel Rajab's human rights work and call for his release."
The human rights figures and organizations concluded their letter by requesting a meeting with the FCO to discuss their human rights concerns in Bahrain and Nabeel Rajab's case and hear the FCO's views on his case and what the UK government can do to uphold its commitment to reverse the shrinking civil society space in Bahrain.
The letter was signed by the following:
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), Amnesty International UK, ARTICLE 19, Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), English PEN, European Centre For Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR), FIDH, under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Index on Censorship, Lawyer's Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), No Peace Without Justice, PEN International, Rafto Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, The Bahrain Press Association, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders; Individuals: Clive Stafford Smith (OBE), director of Reprieve, Professor Damian McCormack.

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