Bahrain: NPWJ and NRPTT strongly condemn new arbitrary arrest of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

2 Oct, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome – New York, 2 October 2014
On 1 October 2014, Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini human rights activist and president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was summoned by the Bahraini Cyber Crimes Unit for interrogation at the Criminal Investigation Directorate and subsequently placed under arrest and detained on charges of “insulting a public institution” over Twitter. Today he was referred to the Public Prosecution which ordered his detention for 7 days on pending further investigation.
The summons and arrest come less than 24 hours after Mr Rajab’s return to Bahrain after a two-month advocacy trip throughout Europe, including the 27th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Mr Rajab has previously been convicted and imprisoned in Bahrain from July 2012 to May 2014 for calling and participating in “illegal gatherings” in the capital city of Manama. Prior to this conviction, he was prosecuted multiple times on charges linked to “anti-government comments” made on social media, including Twitter.

Statement by Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) firmly condemn the arrest and detention of our friend and leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and call on the Bahraini authorities to ensure his immediate and unconditional release.

“We stand in solidarity with Nabeel, who has dedicated his life to the promotion of a pluralistic, open and democratic society in Bahrain. Internationally renowned, he has delivered this message both internally and around the world, as part of his advocacy efforts which we are proud to have supported. The charges against him are entirely without substance.

“Nabeel’s latest arbitrary detention for exercising his right to freedom of expression demonstrates the unabated determination of the Bahraini authorities to suppress any peaceful dissent and nonviolent quest for democratic reform, rule of law and respect of human rights in the country. This is all the more so in the context of the routine targeting of many other human rights defenders with similar, apparently politically-motivated, charges. This simply has to stop.

“It is way past time for the Bahraini authorities to comply with their obligations under international law and uphold their repeated pledges to respond favourably to the recommendations issued by the UN Human Rights Council, which they reaffirmed during its 27th Session in Geneva last month. If the Government is sincerely committed to recognising the legitimate demands of the Bahraini people for democratic participation, it needs habitually to protect rather than deny fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, association and assembly.

“We call on the international community to take action to ensure the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, as well as all other detained human rights defenders, and end the ongoing campaign of intimidation and threats against those whose only “crime” is to advocate openly and peacefully for meaningful democratic reforms and the respect of human rights in Bahrain. A truly democratic transition in Bahrain will be achieved only if all those who are committed to peaceful and nonviolent dialogue are able to contribute fully to the political process without fear of reprisals”.

NPWJ Bahrain Project
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) supports Bahraini human rights organisations and activists in their efforts to promote a democratic and nonviolent political reform in Bahrain. It focuses on assisting human rights defenders and human rights advocates to secure effective and genuine accountability for past and ongoing violations of human rights, including through outreach, monitoring and documentation.

For further information, please contact: Gianluca Eramo, MENA Democracy Program Coordinator, email:, phone: +32 2 548 39 25 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32 2 548 39 15.