On 13 June 2016, security forces arrested leading human rights defender and IFEX member Nabeel Rajab, and he has been held in pre-trial detention ever since, despite his failing health.
Please show your support for Nabeel by joining our Twitter campaign calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Nabeel's health has been severely compromised by the conditions of the arrest and imprisonment, and he remains in hospital since 8 April 2017.
Not one more day! Free human rights defender Nabeel Rajab now! #1Year #BehindBars #FreeNabeel #Bahrain
On 13 June 2016, security forces arrested leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. Nabeel is President of IFEX member the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Founding Director of IFEX member the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Deputy Secretary General of FIDH and Advisory Committee member of Human Rights Watch's Middle East Division. Nabeel's arrest came in a series of repressive actions to severely restrict the work of civil society in the Kingdom of Bahrain, with multiple cases pending against him.
In one case, Nabeel was charged with “publishing and broadcasting false news that undermines the prestige of the state” in relation to three televised interviews in 2015 and 2016, carrying a penalty of up to 3 years in prison if convicted. On 10 July 2017, Nabeel was sentenced in absentia to 2 years in prison for these charges.
In a second case, Bahraini authorities charged Nabeel for comments on Twitter criticizing the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen, and documenting allegations of torture in Bahrain's Jau Prison. Nabeel faces three charges in relation to those tweets, including “defaming a statutory body,” “offending a foreign country,” and “disseminating false news in a time of war,” for which the penalty is up to 15 years in prison.
Nabeel also faces two additional cases opened against him during his detention for op-eds he published from prison in international news sources the New York Times and Le Monde, charged with “intentionally broadcasting false news and malicious rumours abroad impairing the prestige of the state” and “spreading false information and tendentious rumors that insult Bahrain and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and harm their relations” respectively, and could lead to further sentences of imprisonment.
Bahrain's treatment of Nabeel
Since his detention, Nabeel has suffered a delayed judicial process that saw hearings postponed for 12 times in the case regarding his Twitter comments, and hearings postponed for another 14 times in the case regarding the interviews he gave in 2015.
During this time, Nabeel's health has been severely compromised, as he was placed in solitary confinement for long and continuous periods of time, and was subjected to unsanitary conditions. Nabeel suffered multiple emergency visits to hospital during his detention, and on 5 April 2017, he underwent surgery for bleeding ulcers. His family was denied the right to visit, and after surgery he was sent back to solitary confinement, despite further need of medical care. On 8 April 2017, Nabeel was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and has remained in hospital since. In addition, in the weeks leading up to his hearing on 7 August 2017, Nabeel's family was prevented from visiting him, and he was denied the right to contact them or his lawyers.
What you can do
Join our Twitter campaign by clicking the tweet button above and demanding Nabeel's immediate and unconditional release.
Have a few more minutes?
Tweet a message or photo of support to @NABEELRAJAB and @IFEX with the hashtag #FreeNabeel.
Thank you for your support.