Bahrain: Press Release: Court should drop spurious charges against Nabeel Rajab on 20 JanuaryParis-Geneva, January 16, 2014. The Bahraini authorities must
immediately drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab and put an end to the
continued judicial harassment against him said today the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. The
Observatory is a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).
On 20 January, 2015, the Third Lower Criminal Court is
expected to announce the verdict against Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and FIDH Deputy Secretary General.
Mr. Nabeel Rajab is facing the charge of “insulting a public institution and
the army” via Twitter, pursuant to Article 216 of the Bahraini Penal Code, an
offence punishable by up to six years of imprisonment. This
charge concerns various tweets posted on Nabeel Rajab’s account, which the
Public Prosecution has deemed insulting to the Ministry of Interior, the
Bahraini Defence Force, and the Bahraini army.
“The charges against Nabeel Rajab are completely unfounded as they fall
under his legitimate right to freedom of expression. The sanction of
fundamental rights in Bahrain must be put to an end immediately”, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.
The Observatory recalls that the trial is marred by
procedural irregularities which have been repeatedly brought to the attention
of the Court by defence lawyers. Furthermore, the
Observatory deeply regrets that, again, the Bahraini authorities failed to
respond to the Observatory's visa applications made to facilitate a trial
observation of the hearing scheduled for 20 January.
judicial harassment of Nabeel Rajab illustrates Bahrain’s failure to live up to
its human rights commitments. It is about
time that all charges are dropped and Nabeel Rajab is allowed to carry out his
legitimate human rights activities”, concluded OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock.
recalls that Nabeel
Rajab was already arbitrarily detained in 2012 and sentenced to two years
imprisonment as a result of his legitimate human rights activities. In 2013,
the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had declared his
The Observatory urges diplomatic missions in Bahrain
and all relevant stakeholders to attend and monitor the hearing, and call on
the Bahraini authorities to immediately drop all charges held against him in compliance with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international
human rights instruments ratified by Bahrain.
For more information, please contact:
FIDH: Arthur Manet/Audrey Couprie: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
Martin Zumalacarregui: +41 22 809 49 24