Bahrain: NPWJ calls for release of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

9 Jul, 2012 | Press Releases

Brussels, 9 July 2012

On 9 July 2012, Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini human rights activist and president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to three months in jail on charges linked to anti-government comments made on social media, including Twitter. The conviction is for one of several charges faced by Rajab, who has already been arrested and released twice since early May. His appeal hearing is scheduled for 18 July.

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

“The Bahraini government’s treatment of its civilians and political opposition has been heavily criticised, with good cause. As highlighted by the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), issued on 23 November 2011, the Bahraini security forces perpetrated “massive systematic violations and widespread torture” against civilians during mass protests in the country in February and March 2011. Despite the promise generated by Bahrain’s highest authorities’ acceptance of the report and its recommendations, little has changed and the Bahraini people continue to suffer violence at the hands of their government.

“On 25 May 2012, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) convened the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain. The President of the HRC, Laura Dupuy Lasserre, took the opportunity to express her concerns about ongoing suppression and intimidation in Bahrain. The Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), in partnership with No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), organised a “Towards Justice for Bahrain” meeting on 21 May 2012 in the margins of the UPR. Attending the meeting were prominent Bahraini human rights defenders explicitly noted by Lasserre as having been subject to threats and intimidation from the Bahraini Government. The central message of the meeting – and the UPR – is reinforced by Nabeel’s detention: conditions in Bahrain remain of great concern, the humanitarian situation is alarming and human rights violations seem to continue unabated.

“Given Nabeel’s conviction for tweets critical of the authorities, it is even more urgent for the international community to demand that Bahrain complies with its responsibilities. This includes implementing the BICI report in full under a tight and closely monitored timetable and ensuring that citizens can actively engage in democratic reform and contribute to the anchoring of their country’s future on democracy, rule of law and respect of fundamental human rights.

“Nabeel’s imprisonment for exercising his right to freedom of expression demonstrates the inability of the regime to respond favourably to the HRC’s recommendations. Bahrain’s political opposition and constituents continue to face human rights abuses, greatly hampering the possibility of any meaningful change for the country’s political future, in both the short- and long-term. The government must protect rather than deny fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. NPWJ and the NRPTT firmly condemn the detention of Nabeel Rajab and call for his immediate release.”

For further information, please contact Nicola Giovannini at or +32-2-548-39 15 .