Bahrain: Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab released from prison | Update

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Credit: Bahrain Center for Human Rights

On 9 June, human rights defender Nabeel Rajab was released from Bahrain’s Jaw prison to serve a non-custodial sentence, after spending nearly four years in arbitrary detention in relation to tweets and media interviews criticising Bahrain’s human rights record. Along with numerous other human rights organizations, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada has been engaged in advocacy for Nabeel Rajab since he was arbitrarily detained in 2016 and during previous judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.

“We are so relieved about Nabeel’s release, which is the result of the relentless fight of the human rights movement as a whole”, said Alice Mogwe, President of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). “We recall, however, that he should have never been detained in the first place,” she added.

Mr. Nabeel Rajab is the co-founder and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), as well as founding Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR). He was also reelected as FIDH Deputy Secretary General in March 2020. He had been arbitrarily detained since June 13, 2016 in relation to two different criminal cases after he denounced the use of torture in Jaw prison and the killing of civilians by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

On June 9, 2020, he was released on a non-custodial sentence, a new system allowing Bahraini courts to convert jail terms into alternative sentences.

“The release of Nabeel Rajab must not overshadow the persisting detention of other human rights defenders in Bahrain, such as Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel”, said Gerald Staberock, Secretary General of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). “We call upon the Bahraini authorities to release them all,” he concluded.