Human Rights First Welcomes Release of Nabeel Rajab From Prison

WASHINGTON – Today’s release from prison of Bahrain human rights defender Nabeel Rajab is a major, welcome move by the government there.

“This is a strong, surprising, sensible move from Bahrain’s government,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “We know what COVID-19 can do in prisons and other places of detention, and to release Rajab makes sense morally, politically, and from a public health point of view. Of course, if it makes sense to release Rajab, it also makes sense to release other Bahraini human rights defenders still in prison, including Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and Naji Fateel.”

Rajab was sentenced to five years in prison in 2018 for tweeting about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen. He appears to have been released under an alternative non-custodial sentencing system.

“Many of us have been campaigning for his release for years. It’s a rare, great day,” said Dooley. “Rajab has had support from across the world, including in the United States, where Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) has worked publicly and consistently for him to be freed.”

Rajab was the director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, winners of the 2012 Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty, awarded by Human Rights First. Nominations for this year’s award are currently being accepted.


Published on June 9, 2020


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