Bahrain Court Refuses Release of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed deep concern at a Bahraini court’s decision to continue the imprisonment of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, whose trial opened today and was quickly adjourned until October 29. Rajab is charged with insulting the ministries of defense and interior with a Tweet he posted on September 28 saying that the Bahrain security institutions are “the first ideological incubator” for Bahrainis joining ISIS.
“This isn’t a complicated case – Nabeel is being targeted for peacefully expressing his views, and he should never have been arrested,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The world’s leading human rights organizations, plus Bahrain’s main military ally the United States, have called for charges to be dropped.
“It’s hard to see how persisting with this case is a win for the Bahrain government internationally or locally and it only undermines its claims of reform. Civil society figures like Nabeel Rajab, Zainab Al Khawja and many others belong out of jail and in a process to help Bahrain resolve its crisis. Keeping peaceful figures locked away is the wrong move if Bahrain wants to calm its political unrest.”