Bahrain
11.12.12
Urgent Interventions

Nabeel Rajab sentenced to two years in appeal: a sad day for the defence of human rights

PRESS RELEASE - THE OBSERVATORY

BAHRAIN: Nabeel Rajabsentenced to twoyears in appeal: a sad day for the defence of human rights

Paris-Geneva, December 11, 2012. 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), deplores the two years' imprisonment sentence issued today in appeal against Mr.Nabeel Rajab. His lawyers immediately announced their intention to lodge an appealbefore the Cassation Court.

Mr. Nabeel Rajab is theDeputy Secretary General of FIDH, the President of the Bahrain Centre for HumanRights (BCHR) and the Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). Hewas sentenced in appeal to two years of prison for participating in peacefulgatherings and calling others to join. This conviction blatantly violates theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides thatparticipation in peaceful activities to protest against violations of humanrights, including through peaceful assemblies, are protected underinternational law. This decision took place one day after International HumanRights Day and sends a negative signal to the international community, whichhas been calling for reforms and an end to the repression of critical voices inBahrain.

On August 16, 2012, the LowerCriminal Court had sentenced Mr. Rajab in first instance to three years inprison for three cases related to his participation in peaceful gatherings infavour of fundamental freedoms and democracy.

Today's shameful ruling inappeal shows once again the determination of the Bahraini authorities to keepon silencing critical voices in the country. With this decision in appeal, ourDeputy Secretary General will remain detained arbitrarily simply because hedared conducting human rights activities in the country”, FIDH PresidentSouhayr Belhassen said today. “We will continue to demand his immediate andunconditional release”, Amina Bouayach, FIDH Vice President added. Ms.Bouayach was mandated by the Observatory to attend today's verdict in theframework of an international trial observation mission.

We deplore NabeelRajab’s sentencing, which is one more evidence of the continued criminalisationof human rights defenders’ activities in Bahrain”, said OMCT SecretaryGeneral Gerald Staberock. “We call uponthe Bahraini authorities to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity, as well as to ensure that human rights defenderscan operate without fear of harassment in the country”, he added.

The Observatory observed most of the hearings in thetrial in appeal against Mr. Nabeel Rajab, and will publish a trial observationmission report soon.

For more information, please contact:

· FIDH: Arthur Manet/Audrey Couprie: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

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