Rights defender Nabeel Rajab unjustly sentenced to 5 years in prison over tweets… Bahrain consolidates its place among the anti-freedom of expression list

Cairo: 31 December 2018

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), today, vehemently condemned the five-year prison sentence issued against prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), for posting tweets criticizing the war in Yemen.

On December 31, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation issued its verdict upholding the five-year prison sentence handed to Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajan, for allegedly “insulting a foreign country ” against the backdrop of some tweets, in which he denounced the Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen that has claimed the lives of thousands of children and women there while millions of Yemenis are at risk of famine.

It is worth mentioning that this verdict is the second one issued against human rights defender Nabeel Rajab in retaliation for his role in defending the rights of citizens in Bahrain. On 15 January 2018, the Bahraini Court of Cassation upheld the two-year sentence against the backdrop of his participation in media interviews in which he criticized the Bahraini government. Rajab was detained on 13 June 2016 and had been standing trial while in prison.

On 13 August 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention made his opinion regarding the legality of Nabeel Rajab’s detention in accordance with the provisions of the International Human Rights Law and concluded that Rajab’s detention deemed not only arbitrary but also discriminatory.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said, “The ruling issued today is a political and retaliatory decision that violates a fundamental human right, which is freedom of opinion and expression. It also reflects the Kingdom of Bahrain’s perpetuation of the approach of cracking down against human rights defenders and violating the right to protection against discrimination, which is being carried out by against Shiite Muslims in the Kingdom”.

ANHRI added, “This won’t be the end of it. We will continue, by all legal means, and along with all defenders of freedom of opinion and expression all over the world, to put pressure on the Kingdom of Bahrain’s government to release Rajab and all prisoners of conscience imprisoned in the Kingdom since 2011”.

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