Sign up for weekly updates

Utterly unacceptable: IFEX condemns Nabeel Rajab's sentence for comments on Twitter

IFEX strongly condemns the decision by Bahraini prosecutors to sentence human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to an additional five years in prison for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

On 21 February 2018, Bahraini authorities sentenced Nabeel Rajab, President the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) to five years imprisonment for comments he made 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.

This sentence comes in addition to the two-year prison sentence Rajab received on 10 July 2017 for media interviews in which he discussed the kingdom's restrictions on free press. Rajab also has two additional charges against him for op-eds he published from prison in the New York Times and Le Monde, and could face even further jail time if convicted.

Since his detention on 13 June 2016, Rajab has been subjected to a problematic and repeatedly delayed judicial process that saw hearings postponed over 20 times. Trial hearings were frequently announced with only a few days' notice and with no explanation given to Rajab's lawyers, in violation of Bahraini criminal procedure law.

Furthermore, Rajab's health has been severely compromised during his detention, as he was placed in solitary confinement for long and continuous periods of time and was subjected to unsanitary conditions. He also suffered multiple emergency visits to hospital, and his return to prison has been marked by new persecutions and dangerous, humiliating and degrading detention conditions including being beaten on his arrival, being woken up and searched in the middle of the night, having his belongings confiscated, and his head shaved.

Bahrain's poor treatment of prisoners of conscience and the lack of due process in its judicial proceedings are part of an alarming trend of repressive actions to severely restrict the work of civil society in the Kingdom of Bahrain and curtail their right to freedom of expression.

We strongly condemn the decision to imprison Nabeel Rajab for an additional five years for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and call on Bahraini authorities to ensure that Rajab receives adequate medical treatment, and to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Latest Tweet:

En #Honduras persiste la campaña de desprestigio contra varios defensores de #DDHH entre ellos el director de nuest…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.