Bahrain jails prominent activist Nabeel Rajab for 3 years #WTFnews


 

Published: 16 August, 2012, 13:23
Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab attends an anti-regime demonstration in the village of Muqsha, Bahrain, December 9, 2011.

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab attends an anti-regime demonstration in the village of Muqsha, Bahrain, December 9, 2011.

TRENDS:Arab world protests

TAGS: ConflictMiddle EastProtestPolitics,Human rightsOppositionPolice

Bahraini Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been sentenced to three years in jail for “participation in an illegal assembly” and “calling for a march without prior notification.”

Rajab has been held in police custody since June 6th, apparently over comments made on twitter critical of the Prime Minister in Bahrain, and calling for him to step down. Rajab was sentenced on July 9th to three months for his remarks, raising eyebrows and concerns around the world among free-speech activists.

But on Thursday, the lower Bahraini court sentenced the human rights activist to another three years for “involvement in illegal practices and inciting gatherings and calling for unauthorised marches through social networking sites”, for his “participation in an illegal assembly” and for his “participation in an illegal gathering and calling for a march without prior notification.”

Rajab himself is a prominent human rights activist, and has played a significant role in anti-regime demonstrations in recent months. Rajab is also affiliated with international groups such as Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch censured the July 9 court ruling and said, “If anyone is guilty of insult today, it is the Bahraini government, which has reminded citizens they’re not free to express political views.” On July 5, Rajab called on the international community to stop the Manama regime’s violent crackdown on protesters in Bahrain.He said the silence of the European community and the United States is a green light for the Al Khalifa forces to continue their violation of human rights in Bahrain.

Amnesty International claimed Bahrain had done little to improve its human rights record following its bloody crackdown on Arab Spring protesters last year.

“Nabeel Rajab’s imprisonment is the latest example of how, despite government promises to introduce reforms following its violent crackdown on protesters in 2011, few improvements have been seen on the ground,” the group said in a statement at the time.

“He should be released immediately and all other charges or convictions against him dropped or overturned,” it added.

Separately, Bahraini lawyers said on August 14 that the appeals court postponed its verdict in the case of 13 detained opposition figures, including senior activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, until September 4.

Bahraini protesters have been holding demonstrations against the ruling Al Khalifa family since February 2011 and they hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the deaths of demonstrators during the uprising.

 

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Said Yousif arrested


 

Published: 15 August, 2012, 22:32,  RT News
Image from twitter.com by user @SAIDYOUSIF

Image from twitter.com by user @SAIDYOUSIF

TAGS: Middle EastHuman rights

 

Human rights activist Said Yousif tweeted that he was arrested at a checkpoint in A’ali, a major Bahraini town. Yousif has spoken out in support of Nabeel Rajab, another activist recently jailed over comments he made on Twitter.

Yousif says security forces manning the checkpoint had contacted his wife so that she could pick up his “two little kids,” but no more information was forthcoming.

The activist, who heads the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), has become a target for security forces in the country as he regularly speaks out against the Bahraini authorities’ crackdown on anti-regime protesters.

The ongoing uprising by the country’s Shiite majority, which claims systematic discrimination by the Sunni monarchy, has begun to lose steam following a series of mass arrests.

At least 80 people have reportedly died and thousands have been put behind bars since the uprising first began 18 months ago.
Among those arrested for criticizing the country’s leadership was Nabeel Rajab.

Nineteen members of the US Congress recently wrote to Bahrain’s king, calling for the release of Rajab, who is serving a three-month sentence for comments made on Twitter, Al Jazeera reported Sunday.

Rajab appeared in court on Sunday in a separate case connected with his participation in an “illegal gathering.”Yousif told Al Jazeera that a verdict on the latest case against Rajab was expected this Thursday.

Rajab was originally imprisoned for “insulting the Muharraq [an area near the capital Manama] people on his Twitter account,” according to state-run Bahrain News Agency.

“The offended accused Rajab of tarnishing their reputation and casting doubt on their patriotism,” Chief Prosecutor Nayef Yusuf Mahmoud was quoted as saying.

The 19 US lawmakers calling for Rajab’s release lauded the monarchy for the “positive reforms” it had initiated in the wake of the uprising, but claimed the case against Rajab ran “counter to the government’s assurances that individuals will not be prosecuted for peaceful political speech.”

The United States has often been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights violations in the kingdom, as Bahrain remains a vital regional partner. Bahrain currently hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for maritime forces in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and beyond.
In a separate case, 13 imprisoned Bahraini opposition activists who had been swept up in late-night raids last year will have to wait until September 4 to hear the verdict in their appeal.

Those activists received sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment by a military court on charges that included “protesting” and “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution.” One activist was subsequently released after serving six months in prison.

After their sentences were upheld following the military appellate process, the authorities finally allowed them to appear before a civilian court this May.

 

Bahrain: An open letter from the family of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab


 

To the governments of the USA, the UK and all governments who have influence on Bahrain And to the UN and all Regional and International Human Rights Organisations 

 

 Bahrain: An open letter from the family of Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – My name is Sumaya Rajab, the wife of the prominent Bahraini human rights defender,Nabeel Rajab, who is currently detained in Bahrain. I write this letter in my name, and the names of our son Adam and our daughter Malak to urge you to use your influence and act quickly to guarantee my husband’s release immediately and unconditionally.

The Bahraini government fabricated a number of cases against Nabeel to take revenge because of his human rights activities. He was recently convicted as a result of his tweets in which he criticized the Prime Minister who has been in his post for 42 years. It is well-known that Nabeel exercised his right to freedom of expression in his tweets, which was guaranteed by all international conventions for human rights. Other cases taken against Nabeel related to his criticism of the security forces and the use of excessive force and torture and also his calls for peaceful protests through social networks. The right to assembly to demand civil rights is guaranteed by Bahraini laws.

My husband Nabeel is a prominent Bahraini rights activist and he is the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and a member of Human Rights Watch’s MENA Advisory Board. He is also the Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights. Nabeel has worked in human rights for 20 years and he has held important positions in several countries.

With the beginning of what is known as the Arab Spring, Nabeel initiated many peaceful activities to support the right of all peoples to decide their destinies. This came at the same time as the Bahraini revolution in February 2011 which demanded the Bahraini people’s legitimate rights to democracy, social justice and the end of corruption. Nabeel initiated a campaign on social networks to support Bahraini people’s rights, erase corruption and uncover violations of human rights. He also tried to uncover the role of the ruling regime in Bahrain in these violations. Nabeel has become one the most prominent activists on social networks, especially Twitter. He has at present more than 166,000 followers from all around the world. He travelled around the world and he met several international officials both in the West and the Middle East and officials in human rights organizations and institutions to uncover the human rights violations carried out by the regime and to explore ways to stop these violations and end the impunity. Nabeel and his team at the BCHR succeeded in uncovering the lies of the regime in front of the world. As a result, the Bahraini regime manipulated the politicized judicial authorities to fabricate cases against him in order to imprison him and stop his influential activities.

Bahraini security forces attacked his home on several occasions and fired tear gas inside the house in order to put pressure on him and his family. His family, including his children and elderly mother, have suffered from breathing problems more than once as a result of the tear gas. What happened inside the house was documented by video recordings and through international statements issued on these occasions. The regime also made it difficult for Nabeel to work and ruined his business. Our children were harassed in school and I, his wife, was sacked from my job after a campaign of harassment so that the regime could make sure that Nabeel’s only income was stopped. Nabeel has been arrested and interrogated on several occasions for his criticism of the regime and also for his calls for peaceful protests. He declared from his prison that he rejects all these fabricated charges and he refuses to appear before any court because the judicial system in Bahrain lacks independence and transparency. Dozens of regional and international human rights organisations issued statements demanding the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, an end to the harassment of him and our family and also that he be allowed to work freely on his independent human rights activities, but the Bahraini regime did not respond to all these calls.

Nabeel Rajab is currently held at Jaw central prison in harsh conditions which reflect the desire of the Bahraini regime to take revenge. He is being held in a dirty cell where there are insects. The cell has no ventilation despite the high temperature. He is isolated from political prisoners and held with criminal prisoners. Prisoners are not allowed to talk to him, excluding the two people who share the cell with him. He was refused access to the doctor despite the fact that he suffers from eczema, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. In addition, on several occasions, the prison administration has denied access to his medication in order to put pressure on him. Contrary to the rules of Bahraini prisons, we as a family are harassed when we apply to visit him and the reply to the applications always take a long time. Also, in contrast to other detainees, he is always brought to the visiting room with his hands handcuffed.

We, as the family of Nabeel Rajab, plead to you and plead to the UN and all international human rights organizations and institutions to demand from the Bahraini authorities that Nabeel Rajab should be released, that abuses against him and our family should stop and that he should be allowed to practice his human rights activities as guaranteed by all international conventions. We also hold the international community responsible for protecting freedoms and human rights in Bahrain and for working to put an end to human rights violations against the Bahraini people and especially against human rights defenders such as Nabeel Rajab.

We hope that you will take our plea into consideration and that you realize that the silence of some Western governments about the gross human rights violations in Bahrain means that the Bahraini people will lose trust in you and in principles you talk about. The people of Bahrain cannot understand the silence of the international community about the violations taking place in Bahrain while it is moving to resolve violations in other areas of the world. Freedom and respect for human rights are the only path to building a flourishing future for all people without any exception, and we in Bahrain long to build a state based on the foundations of justice and equality for all Bahraini people without any exception.

Bahrain, 11 August 2012

Sumaya Rajab, wife of activist Nabeel Rajab
Adam Rajab, son of activist Nabeel Rajab
Malak Rajab, daughter of activist Nabeel Rajab

 

Verdicts to be Issued for Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab


Verdicts to be Issued Thursday for Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab

 (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) -On Thursday August 16, a court in Manama, Bahrain is expected to issue a verdict/hear briefs in four cases pending against Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, including Rajab’s appeal over the three-month sentence he is currently serving for being found guilty of libel due to posting six statements on Twitter that are critical of the BahrainiPrime Minister. The other cases that the court will hear include allegedly inciting gatherings and unauthorized marches.This is not the first time the court has set a date for a verdict, and in other prominent cases – notably that of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – the court has met only to announce a delay. These postponements raise the question as to the legitimacy of Bahrain’s judicial process. Media reports have cited the delays as an indication of the government’s commitment to reform, yet the track record to justify such conclusions is lacking.

“I believe strongly in peaceful means of struggle. It could take longer time, but has better results,” Nabeel Rajab told Witness Bahrain in a videotaped interview just days before his arrest. “I will continue all my life struggling for democracy and human rights.”

Rajab is currently being held in Jaw Central Prison and, according to reports from his family, in an insect-ridden cell without air conditioning or proper ventilation, and without needed medical attention for his eczema, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.

“We, as the family of Nabeel Rajab, plead to you and plead to the UN and all international human rights organizations and institutions to demand from the Bahraini authorities that Nabeel Rajab should be released, that abuses against him and our family should stop and that he should be allowed to practice his human rights activities as guaranteed by all international conventions,” wrote Nabeel Rajab’s wife Sumaya in an open letter on behalf of herself and her two children.

In addition to this just-released video interview, in which Nabeel Rajab talks about his work oh behalf of the Bahraini people’s struggle for democracy and human rights, a member of Witness Bahrain conducted a video interview with Nabeel Rajab on July 9, 2012, the day he was arrested and taken to prison, including filming surreptitious footage of the arrest itself.

Press contact for Witness Bahrain:
Kate Raphael katrap40@gmail.com, +1-510-381-1287

Bahrain rights leader arrested for ‘offensive’ tweets: BCHR #Censorship


Published Monday, May 7, 2012

Human rights leader Nabeel Rajab is being held in a Bahraini jail because of comments he made on Twitter, his daughter said on Monday.

Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights (BCHR), was arrested on Saturday evening after flying into the country, and was charged with a string of offenses on Sunday afternoon.

Maryam al-Khawaja, who has taken over as acting head of the BCHR while Rajab remains incarcerated, said the charges against him were based on comments he had made on the social networking site.

“He is going to have several charges against him, mostly about what he writes on Twitter. They said he offended an official in the government and because of his Twitter there were violent attacks on police and calling for illegal protests,” she told Al-Akhbar.

“We knew they had been building up a case against him using Twitter because the last two times he has been arrested what they would do is bring out a file of hundreds of pages of copies of his tweets. That’s their evidence,” she added.

Maryam said that Rajab had refused to respond to any of the charges put against him as he did not recognize the legitimacy of the court.

A statement from the Interior Ministry confirmed that the evidence against Rajab was predominantly from publicly available social networks, but did not specifically mention Twitter.

“The Public Prosecution filed a case against the defendant after compiling compelling evidence of his involvement in inciting illegal rallies and marches online on social networking websites,” it said.

Following an interview with the BBC’s Hard Talk show two weeks ago, Rajab was threatened on Twitter by Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid Al-Khalifa, saying “you are not going to get away with this every time.”

Maryam also said her sister, prominent rights campaigner Zainab famous for her Twitter handle @angryarabiya, was being unfairly treated in jail.

Zainab has been detained for three weeks and is due to face a number of charges on Wednesday, including insulting a police officer.

“They have been harassing her inside prison,” Maryam said. “One of the things she has been doing is making paper toys for her two-year-old daughter. They came in and took away the toys.”

Their father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and co-founder of the BCHR, has been on a prolonged hunger strike to protest his detention.

Abdulhadi, along with a number of key activists, remain imprisoned for leading pro-democracy rallies last year, despite a government-backed commission in November calling on all political prisoners to be released.

Bahrain was the scene of a number of large Arab Spring inspired protests last February, following the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Bahraini and Saudi troops violently suppressed the protests in March, but demonstrations have continued.

(Al-Akhbar)

 

https://twitter.com/#!/NABEELRAJAB

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