Bahrain: Continuous travel ban of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)
BHR 001 / 0812 / OBS
Restrictions on freedom of movement
December 21, 2015
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World
Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests
your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the
continuous travel ban of Mr. Nabeel
Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR),
FIDH Deputy Secretary General and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human
Rights Watch’s Middle East Division.
According to the information received, on December 3, 2015, Mr. Rajab's lawyers submitted a second petition to
the Attorney General requesting the lift of the travel ban imposed on Mr.
Nabeel Rajab on July 13, 2015 (see background information). Previously, Mr.
Rajab’s lawyers had filed appeals to the travel ban with the investigating
prosecutor on September 2, 2015, the Attorney General on September 16, and the
Office of the Public Prosecution on October 1, 2015. They received no response
to such petitions.
In the written request filed to the Attorney
General, Mr. Rajab's lawyers raised the issue of urgency, as Mr. Rajab's wife
health is continuously deteriorating and needs treatment outside of Bahrain,
accompanied by Mr. Rajab.
The Observatory denounces the continued travel ban imposed against Mr.
Nabeel Rajab and considers that Mr. Rajab is targeted solely for his human
rights activities. The Observatory calls on the Bahraini authorities to
immediately lift the travel ban, and drop all charges against Mr. Nabeel Rajab.
The Observatory, more generally, urges the Bahraini authorities to put
an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Rajab, and to comply with
relevant international human rights standards and instruments, in particular
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, and the UN
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on
December 9, 1998.
Mr. Rajab has faced continuous judicial harassment for his
legitimate human rights work since his first arrest in June 2012.
Mr. Rajab was sentenced to three months imprisonment for allegedly
libelling the residents of Al Muharraq via several tweets posted on his twitter
account. On August 23, 2012, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was acquitted by the Higher
On August 16, 2012, the Lower Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Nabeel
Rajab to three years of imprisonment in relation to three cases related to his
participation in peaceful gatherings in favour of fundamental freedoms and
democracy. In December 2012, the Appeals Court reduced the sentence to two
years of imprisonment. Mr. Nabeel Rajab completed his sentence and was
released in May 2014.
On October 1, 2014, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was summoned and remanded in
detention by the General Directorate of Anti-corruption and Economic and
Electronic Security of the Criminal Investigation Department for “insulting a
public institution” under Article 216 of the Bahraini Penal Code. The case related to a tweet he published in September 2014, in which he
criticised the military institutions for generating extremist ideologies (the
“terrorism tweet” case). On November 2, 2014, the Third
Lower Criminal Court ordered Mr. Rajab’s release but barred him from leaving
On January 20, 2015, the Third Lower Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Nabeel
Rajab to six months imprisonment on the charges of “insulting public
institutions and the army”.
In 2015, two other sets of criminal charges have been brought against
Mr. Rajab. On February 26, 2015, Mr. Rajab was summoned for investigations
for charges of “inciting hatred towards the regime” in relation to a speech he
made in February 2011 during a funeral (the “funeral speech case”). To date,
the police investigation is ongoing.
In addition, on April 2, 2015, at 4:00 pm, over twenty police cars
surrounded Mr. Rajab’s house and policemen arrested him. Mr. Rajab
was then sent to the General Directorate of Anti Corruption Economic and
Electronic Security to be interrogated and placed in detention in solitary
confinement in Isa Town Police Station. On April 3, 2015, Mr. Rajab was
interrogated by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) regarding two new
charges brought against him under criminal case No.
2015/38288. The first charge was “insulting a statutory body” (Article
216 of the Bahraini Criminal Code) referring to the Ministry of Interior in
relation to tweets he posted denouncing the torture of detainees at Jaw Prison
(the “Jaw torture tweets” case). The second charge was “disseminating false
rumours in time of war” (Article 133 of the Bahraini Criminal Code) in relation
to tweets he published about the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in
Yemen (the “Yemen tweets” case). If sentenced on the second charge,
Mr. Rajab could be facing up to 10 years imprisonment. Mr. Rajab
refused to sign the police minutes of the investigations. On April 4, 2015,
Mr. Rajab was brought before the Public Prosecution. The Prosecution
ordered seven days detention pending investigation. On April 5, 2015, security
police confiscated all electronics devices belonging to Mr. Rajab and
members of his family.
On April 11, 2015, the prosecution ordered an additional fifteen days in
detention for Mr. Rajab. On April 26, 2015, the Public Prosecution
officially charged Mr. Rajab under Articles 133 and 216. The Public
Prosecution subsequently extended his detention for an additional fifteen days.
On May 11, the Bahraini High Court extended Nabeel Rajab´s preventive detention
for 15 days.
On May 14, 2015, the Bahrain Criminal Court of Appeal upheld the
six-month prison sentence (the
“terrorism tweet” case).
On July 13, 2015, the King of Bahrain Hamad Ben Issa Al-Khalifa ordered
through Royal Pardon the release of Mr. Nabeel Rajab for health reasons. Mr.
Rajab had already served three of the six months jail sentence.
Moreover, on the same date, the Public Prosecution imposed a travel ban
against Mr. Rajab in relation to criminal case No. 2015/38288 related to the
Jaw torture and Yemen tweets cases.
The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:
i. Immediately lift the travel ban against Mr. Nabeel Rajab, and
drop all charges against him, as he is targeted solely for his human rights
ii. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of
Mr. Nabeel Rajab and that of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;
iii. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial
level, against Mr. Nabeel Rajab and against all human rights defenders in
iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration
on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations
General Assembly, in particular:
its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or
in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human
rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” ;
its Article 6 (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually
and in association with others to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the
observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public
attention to those matters” ;
and its Article 12.2 which states that “the State shall take all
necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of
everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence,
threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or
any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise
of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and
international instruments ratified by Bahrain.
• Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA,
King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
• Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tel: +973
172 27 555; Fax: 00973 17 21 05 75; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs,
Tel: +973 175 133 00; Fax: +973 175 31 284
• Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Tel: +973
17572222 and +973 17390000. Email: email@example.com
• Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin
Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland.
Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to
the Kingdom of Belgium, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Avenue Louise 250,
1050 Brussels, Belgium; Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail: Brussels.email@example.com
Please also write to diplomatic representations of Bahrain in your