Bahrain Defender Rajab Wins Twitter Appeal, Remains in Jail
Washington, D.C. – Leading Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), has won his appeal of a three-month prison sentence for criticizing the country’s Prime Minister in a tweet. His comments were about Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, the uncle of the King of Bahrain and the country’s unelected Prime Minister for more than four decades. Last week, in a separate case, Rajab was sentenced to three years in jail for his part in “illegal gatherings.” “It’s hard to celebrate when the Bahrain authorities admit their mistake in jailing Nabeel Rajab for the tweet but keep him in prison until 2015 on other spurious charges,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “They’ve found another way to silence him, and that’s what matters.” During today’s appeal verdict, Rajab was removed from the court after complaining about his treatment and conditions in jail. Rajab is one of the region’s leading human rights figures, with over 168,000 followers on the social network site Twitter. Before today’s ruling, he had already served more than a month in jail for his tweet criticizing Bahrain’s unelected Prime Minister. Rajab is the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. He and the BCHR have won several international awards for their work in exposing human rights violations in the country over the last 18 months, including the 2012 Roger Baldwin Medal of Freedom, awarded by Human Rights First, the 2011 Ion Ratui Democracy Award, from the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the 2011 Silbury Prize, from UK parliamentarians.