The Long Ordeal of One of Bahrain’s Leading Human Rights Activists
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Nabeel Rajab is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).
For years, he’s been hounded, harassed, persecuted, beaten, and imprisoned for supporting fundamental human and civil right in a nation denying them to its citizens, the Al Khalifa monarchy ruling despotically, justice entirely absent.
He’s facing trial, automatic conviction, sentencing and likely imprisonment again for his heroic activism, not for any criminal activity he abhors.
He’s accused of publicly expressing views via Twitter considered harmful to regime interests. On August 8, a Bahraini kangaroo court postponed action on his case until September 11.
State prosecutors delayed proceedings numerous times, undermining Rajab’s right to judicial fairness, impossible in Bahrain – guilt by accusation automatic.
A BCHR statement said the following:
“International allies of Bahrain must hold accountable the Bahraini government who is eradicating all forms of peaceful dissent in the country.”
“They should condemn the prosecution of our President who is the latest victim of Bahrain’s crackdown on all moderate voices and request his immediate and unconditional release.”
“The serious criminal charges which include allegations of propagating false news are totally baseless and should be dropped.”
Rajab’s tweets related to US/Saudi aggression in Yemen, as well as charges of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in Jau prison.
According to convoluted Bahraini law, his tweets about Yemen’s war were “false or malicious news,” punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Accusations of state-sponsored torture were called defamatory to one of the nation’s organizing bodies (the interior ministry), considered a criminal offense.
No evidence suggests Rajab acted improperly or illegally. He freely expressed views about abhorrent regime practices, along with naked aggression on Yemen.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ spokeswoman Liz Throssell issued a statement saying:
“Human rights defenders in Bahrain must be able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals, and should not face detention or prosecution for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”
The European Parliament and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office condemned his mistreatment.
In a July 7 letter to America’s ambassador to Bahrain, William Roebuck, 10 human rights groups listed below stressed his “precarious situation,” reprisals against his freely expressed views.
They urged US intervention on his behalf, supporting his “internationally protected rights.”
He was arbitrarily detained for over a year on baseless charges, under deplorable conditions. His ordeal took a toll on his health.
The Bahraini regime was called on to release him “immediately on humanitarian grounds.” He’s still in custody for the last 421 days – earlier isolated in brutalizing solitary confinement for over nine months. Supportive NGOs include:
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Front Line Defenders
Gulf Center for Human Rights
International Federation for Human Rights
World Organization against Torture
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy
European Center for Democracy and Human Rights
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