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Urgent Interventions

Continued ill-treament of Mr. Nabeel Rajab

New information

BHR 006 / 0812 / OBS 048.32

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment /



April 24, 2018

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDHand the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new informationand requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.


TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicialharassment, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, co-founder and President of the Bahrain Center forHuman Rights (BCHR), founding Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights(GCHR), FIDH Deputy Secretary General and a member of the Middle East advisorycommittee at Human Rights Watch. Mr. Nabeel Rajab has been one of the country’smost vocal human rights defenders, denouncing human rights violations withinthe country’s Jaw prison, and denouncing Bahrain’s participation in bombings ofthe Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

According tothe information received, on April 20, 2018, Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s family reportedthat he had not been allowed to drink for more than 24 hours. He was finallygiven water after another inmate collapsed because of dehydration.

TheObservatory recalls that since the beginning of his detention on June 13, 2016,Mr. Rajab has been held under particularly harsh detention condition, includingsolitary confinement, and is regularly prevented from accessing his lawyers.Locked in his cell 23 hours a day, prison authorities regularly deprive Mr.Nabeel Rajab of basic commodities and health treatments needed. Mr. NabeelRajab was also reportedly subjected by prison guards to degrading treatment,including humiliating and degrading body searches, forcibly shaving his hair,arbitrarily raiding his cell at night and confiscating his personal items[1].

In addition, on April 4, 2018, Mr. Nabeel Rajabwas briefly transferred to Bahrain military hospitalbecause of continued feelings of dizziness and loss of conscience, his bloodwas taken for further examinations. During the transfer, Mr. Nabeel Rajab wasstrip searched and shackled in a bus which had a small cell inside and resultedin him begging his head on the iron bars every time the bus driver stopped. Later,on the same day, officers at the hospital received orders to take him back toJaw prison.

Two weeks before his transfer, he wastransferred to the Ministry of Interior hospital, where he underwentpre-surgery procedures. However, he was later informed that he would only be allowedto undergo the surgery at the military hospital. Mr. Nabeel Rajab refusedbecause of acts of ill treatment previously received there. He was supposed toundergo a pilonidal sinus excision, abscess incision and drainage surgery whichhe has already received last year. Prior to the new surgery, Mr. Nabeel Rajab’sdoctor recommended that he should go to a laser clinic to remove his hair inorder to ease the surgery, but the doctor’s recommendation was ignored byprison authorities.

The Observatory expresses its outmost concernsover reports of ill-treatment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, whose health has severelydegraded since the beginning of his detention. The Observatory thus urges theBahraini authorities to guarantee Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s physical and psychologicalintegrity.

In itsconcluding observations on Bahrain published on May 12, 2017, the UnitedNations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) drew attention to the fact that“excessive use of solitary confinement constitutes cruel, inhuman or degradingpunishment or, depending on the circumstances, even torture (...)”[2].The UN CAT added that it was “deeply concerned” by the arbitrary imprisonment,torture and ill-treatment of detained human rights defenders, includingMr. Nabeel Rajab.

TheObservatory recalls that Mr. Nabeel Rajab is currently serving a seven yearsprison sentence following two separate sentences. On April 23, 2018, the first appeal hearing in Mr. his so-called “Twittercase” took place before Bahrain Court of Cassation, which was then postponed toMay 8, 2018 (see background information).

The Observatory denouncesthe continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seems to be yetanother evidence of a long-standing pattern of harassment against him tosanction his legitimate human rights activity.

The Observatory callsupon the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr.Nabeel Rajab, to put an end to any act of harassment against him and, in themeantime, to ensure that all judicial proceedings against him are carried outin full compliance with the right to due process, the right to a fair trial andthe right to be presumed innocent, as protected under international law.

Background information[3]:

Mr. Nabeel Rajab is currently serving a sevenyears prison sentence following two separate sentences:

On July 10, 2017, the Manama’sLower Criminal Court handed down a two years’ prison sentence against Mr.Nabeel Rajab under charges of “deliberately spreading false information andmalicious rumours with the aim of discrediting the State” in relation totelevision interviews he participated to. This sentence was upheld on November22, 2017 by the Court of Appeals. Mr. Nabeel Rajab faces additional charges inat least two other cases related to articles published in foreign newspapersabout Bahrain’s human rights record.

In the so-called“Twitter case”, on February 21, 2018, the High Criminal Court of Bahrain sentencedhim to 5 years in prison on charges of “insultinga statutory body” (Article 216 of the Penal Code), “disseminating false rumoursin time of war” (Article 133) and “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]”(Article 215), which carries up to 15 years in prison. Those charges arerelated to tweets he posted denouncing the torture of detainees in theKingdom’s Jaw Prison, where he is now being detained, and the human rightsviolations perpetrated by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen.

Actions requested:

Please writeto the authorities of Bahrain urging them to:

i. Guaranteein all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. NabeelRajab and that of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

ii. ReleaseMr. Nabeel Rajab immediately and unconditionally, as his detention is arbitraryand its conditions amount to ill-treatment and are endangering his life;

iii. Put anend to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr.Nabeel Rajab and against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

iv. Conformin any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly,in particular its Articles 1, Article 6 (c), 9, 11 and 12.2;

v. Ensure inall circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Bahrain.


· Cheikh Hamadbin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587

· Cheikh KhaledBin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax : 00973 17 21 05 75;

· Cheikh Khalidbin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31284

· Lt. Gen.Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Email:

· H.E.Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the UnitedNations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email:

· H.E. AhmedMohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom ofBelgium, Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail:


Paris-Geneva, April 24, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protectionof Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is tointervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European UnionHuman Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call theemergency line:


Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 /+ 41 22 809 49 29

[1] See BCHR’s timeline harassmentof Mr. Nabeel Rajab:

[2] See CAT Concluding observations on the second andthird periodic reports of Bahrain, adopted by the Committee at its sixtiethsession (18 April to 12 May 2017), par. 20. See also Working Group on ArbitraryDetention, Opinion A/HRC/WGAD/2013/12 No. 12/2013, July 25, 2013, par. 20.

[3] For more information, see theObservatory’s urgent interventions previously published on the case. @font-face { font-family: "Arial";}@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math";}@font-face { font-family: "OpenSymbol";}@font-face { font-family: "Tahoma";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }h4 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 43.2pt; text-indent: -43.2pt; page-break-after: avoid; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; font-weight: normal; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoFooter, li.MsoFooter, div.MsoFooter { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.MsoFootnoteReference { vertical-align: super; }p.MsoBodyText, li.MsoBodyText, div.MsoBodyText { margin: 0cm 0cm 7pt; line-height: 120%; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoBodyText2, li.MsoBodyText2, div.MsoBodyText2 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.Titre4Car { }span.InternetLink { }span.Caractresdenotedebasdepage { vertical-align: super; }span.Ancredenotedebasdepage { vertical-align: super; }span.CorpsdetexteCar { }span.PieddepageCar { }span.En-tteCar { }span.NotedebasdepageCar { }span.Corpsdetexte2Car { }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; }

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