Wednesday, 03 June 2015, Issue #49
BIRD Weekly Newsletter
In this Issue
• UN-CAT Questions Detention of Nabeel Rajab • Zainab Al-Khawaja sentenced to 9 months • NGOs Urge EU to Call on Saudi to Release Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr •
UN-CAT Questions Detention of Nabeel Rajab
2 June 2015: The Committee against Torture, the UN body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention against Torture, requested that the Government of Bahrain investigate possible acts of reprisal against human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. Rajab who was arrested by the Government of Bahrain in October 2014 and again in April 2015 for defaming government bodies and spreading rumors during wartime, had previously cooperated with the Committee in documenting allegations of torture, and there is substantial fear that the government arrested him in retaliation against his human rights work.
Read the full communication from the Committee here
NGOs Urge EU to Call on Saudi Arabia to Release Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr
29 May 2015: Washington, D.C. – 11 human rights and multi-faith organizations sent a letter to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, urging the European Union (EU) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to call on the government of Saudi Arabia to cancel the death sentence of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and release him immediately.
Read the full statement here
NGOs & Individuals Call for Protection of Religious Freedom for Bahrain 13
26 May 2015: A group of 15 NGOs and individuals sent a joint letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to call on Government of Bahrain to protect the religious freedoms of a group of high-profile political prisoners known as the Bahrain 13. As the letter states, “[t]he Bahrain 13 are representative of the systemic crisis of religious discrimination in Bahrain.” The letter requests Secretary Kerry to call for their immediate release from prison.
For the full letter and signatories click here
Campaign to Protect freedom of expression in Bahrain
Insulting the King, the country’s flag and institutions or even a foreign country can lead to seven years imprisonment in Bahrain. One activist, Zainab Al-Kawaja, faces three years in prison for tearing apart a picture of the King. Another, Nabeel Rajab was sentenced in January to six months for ‘insulting public institutions (Ministeries of Interior and Defence)’ on twitter and is currently arrested on a separate investigation. Student and son of a POC Ahmad Mshaima is now serving a one year prison sentence for reading a poem considered offensive to the King. The list goes on, with tens of prisoners of conscience continuing to be held behind bars since 2011 for peacefully expressing dissent.
Updates from the Ground
19 arrested including 5 children
17 sentenced to 145 years in prison
90 trials postponed
2 death sentences upheld
Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja sentenced to 9 months in prison
Security forces continue the use of force and excessive use of tear gas against peaceful protesters
News & Commentaries
Bahrain Center for Human Rights: Nabeel Rajab’s Speech at the 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum: Delivered by Said Yousif Almahafdah
Yahoo News: Bahrain court jails six police for torture
Amnesty International: Bahrain: Further information: Court upholds death sentences of two men
Amnesty International: Bahrain: Drop All Charges Against Hussain Jawad Urgent Action Appeal