- Category: Press Releases
- Published on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:24
Johannesburg, 22 August 2012: The sentencing of Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, to three years in jail marks a new low for civil society in Bahrain, says global civil society network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation.
On 16 August 2012, Manama’s Lower Criminal Court convicted Nabeel for nothing other than exercising what should be normal democratic freedoms enjoyed by all. He was found guilty of “participation in an illegal gathering, calling for a march without prior notification” and “inciting others to join in illegal gatherings using social networking sites.” At the time of his sentencing Rajab was already serving a three month sentence for “insulting an official authority over twitter.”
“Nabeel has been a courageous campaigner for human rights and justice in Bahrain ever since the pro-democracy protests began in February 2011,” says Katsuji Imata, CIVICUS’ Acting Secretary General. “He gave a compelling account of the injustices unleashed by Bahrain’s regime at the CIVICUS World Assembly in September last year. His sentence is simply a punishment for telling the world the truth about Bahrain.”
At the forthcoming CIVICUS World Assembly, being held in Montreal, Canada from 3 to 7 September, Nabeel’s place will be taken by his wife.
Observers report that the judicial process in Nabeel’s case was fraught with inconsistencies and bias. His lawyers were denied sufficient time and opportunity to prepare for latest defence as a hearing initially scheduled for 26 September was arbitrarily moved to 12 August. He is currently being kept in unsanitary conditions at the al-Jaw Central Prison and has on occasion been denied access to a doctor and medication. His family has been subjected to cumbersome procedures in order to visit him in jail.
There are hundreds of political prisoners currently languishing in Bahraini prisons, and this latest verdict marks a new low point for the harassment and persecution of activists. In September 2011 CIVICUS called on Bahraini authorities to stop the politically motivated trials of 21 pro-democracy protestors who were sentenced by a military court to jail terms ranging from two years to life.
CIVICUS now calls on the military and trading partners of Bahrain to publicly condemn the manner of sentencing of Nabeel Rajab, and to put diplomatic pressure on Bahrain’s regime to revoke Nabeel Rajab’s conviction, and those of other human rights defenders.