Further Punishments Against Leading Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab
19 April 2018 – Leading Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab alongside other inmates in Jau Prison are being subjected to severe punitive restrictions, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has learned today.
Nabeel has not been allowed “a single drop of water” for over 24 hours, his son Adam Rajab said today on Twitter.
In addition, Nabeel has also been denied access to his prescribed medication; it is unclear, however, if this is a result of not having any water, or rather a further punishment Nabeel is being subjected to.
BIRD spoke with Adam, who confirmed Nabeel made contact with him today at 12:10pm UK time (BST), and further informed him that he has been confined to his cell for 23 hours per day for a week, therefore reducing his allocated time outside his cell to only 1 hour a day. These are just the latest examples of the punitive measures currently being implemented by prison authorities, who had previously been operating under an open-cell policy.
In May last year, the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) called on Bahrain to drop all charges against Nabeel and release him from prison. CAT further condemned the extreme conditions Nabeel has had to endure during his prison term, which so far includes 9 months spent in solitary confinement. They have also called for the authorities to investigate widespread allegations of ill-treatment and torture of detainees in Jau Prison.
Adam has also revealed that following consultation with Nabeel’s legal team, they have decided to appeal the 5-year prison sentence Bahrain’s High Criminal Court issued against the rights defender on 21st February 2018. This sentence was based solely on Nabeel posting critical comments on social media, as he tweeted his condemnation of the airstrikes in Yemen mounted by the Saudi-led coalition and exposed the widespread torture occuring in Bahrain’s notorious Jau Prison. The first appeal session will be held on Monday 23 April.
BIRD condemns Nabeel Rajab’s inhuman and degrading treatment in Jau Prison, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Background Information on Nabeel Rajab’s case:
Nabeel Rajab is currently serving 7 years in prison as a result of 2 different cases.
The first case is in relation to Nabeel’s social media activity wherein he criticised the Saudi-led coalition led airstrikes in Yemen on Twitter, and exposed the widespread torture inmates in Jau Prison are subjected to. On 21 February 2018, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
The second case relates to media interviews conducted in 2014 and 2015 in which he declared international NGOs and journalists are not allowed to enter the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the detention of opposition members in Bahrain is politically motivated. In July 2017 he was sentenced to 2 years in prison. Nabeel has exhausted all legal remedies available to him, as his sentence was upheld on 15 January 2018.