Human Rights First Urges U.S. Action on Bahrain Following Nabeel Rajab Case Developments
Washington, D.C.—Following this weekend’s adjournment in the ongoing case against prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, Human Rights First urged the Bahraini regime to drop all charges against Rajab, and called on Congress and the Obama Administration to take steps to hold Bahrain accountable for failed human rights reforms.
“Nabeel is being subjected to a rigged trial from a corrupt judiciary controlled by an autocratic monarchy,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “Like many others in Bahrain, he has no chance of a fair hearing or due process, and the decision to continue this prosecution will rightly draw international censure at the upcoming U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.”
Over the weekend The New York Times featured an opinion piece written by Rajab from jail detailing his ordeal and the worsening human rights conditions in Bahrain. The country’s response was swift; shortly after the letter was published Bahraini authorities charged Rajab with publishing “false news and statements and malicious rumors that undermine the prestige of the kingdom.”
The case comes as Dooley is set to testify before the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Friday on the current environment for human rights in Bahrain.
Human Rights First also urges members of Congress to cosponsor bipartisan legislation—The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Accountability Act of 2015—which which would ban transfers of certain weapons and small arms that could be used against protesters until Bahrain fully implements the human rights reforms to which it committed in 2011.
“Pressing on with this case is not only damaging for the Bahraini regime but also humiliating for the United States, which has failed to persuade its tiny ally to recognize even the most basic right to free speech,” noted Dooley. “The Obama Administration should finally back up its words with action and introduce consequences for Bahrain’s attacks on human rights and leading activists.”