Bahrain: NPWJ welcomes the release of Nabeel Rajab and calls for all prisoners of conscience to be freed

9 Jun, 2020 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 9 June 2020

“NPWJ joyfully welcomes the release of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab on a non-custodial sentence, after spending nearly four years of unjust and unlawful detention in Bahraini Jaw prison.

As we have said before, Nabeel should have never been detained in the first place. He had been arbitrarily detained since June 2016 in relation to two different criminal cases after he denounced through tweets and media interviews the use of torture in Jaw prison and the killing of civilians by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. These alleged acts upon which the charges against Nabeel were based are in no way recognisable criminal offences under international human rights law. Rather, they involved the peaceful exercise of internationally protected rights to freedom of expression to promote and protect human rights and advocate for a fair and just democratic political system in Bahrain.

This shocking ruling against Nabeel Rajab was not isolated; it was part of a systematic and relentless campaign carried out by the Bahraini authorities to criminalise free speech and silence any peaceful dissent through judicial harassment and the improper use of judicial and police powers. Other human rights defenders in Bahrain, such as Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel to name a few, are still behind bars. 

We call upon the Bahraini authorities to release all prisoners of conscience, whose only “crime” is to advocate openly and peacefully for meaningful democratic reforms and the respect of human rights in Bahrain”.

– For further information, contact Nicola Giovannini on

– Check also the special section on NPWJ’s Campaign for Accountability and Human Rights in Bahrain