BAHRAIN: Nabeel Rajab detention renewed for 15 days

5 January 2017 – Nabeel Rajab’s pre-trial detention was renewed for a further 15 days by the Public Prosecution today according to Nabeel’s lawyer. The president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, who is being prosecuted on multiple charges related to his media activities, was supposed to be freed on bail following a decision by the high criminal court on 28 December 2016.

However, Rajab was instead immediately re-arrested and remanded in custody for seven days, on charges related to media interviews he gave in 2015. Rajab has been in police custody since 13 June, when he was arrested for “spreading false news and rumours about the internal situation in Bahrain.”

Since his arrest, prosecutors have instead pursued Rajab with three charges which amount to a total of 15 years in prison if convicted, all relating to his twitter activity. Two of these charges -“spreading rumours in wartime” and “insulting a statutory body” – were originally brought against Rajab in 2015 and relate to his criticism of the humanitarian cost of the war in Yemen and his documentation of torture in Bahrain’s Central Jau Prison, but no prosecution occurred at the time. A third charge of “insulting a neighbouring country” – Saudi Arabia – was added to the case following his June 2016 arrest, and also related to his comments on the Yemen war. Rajab’s next trial date for this case is 23 January.

Rajab also faces separate charges in relation to a letter he wrote to the New York Times in September 2016, and may face additional charges for a December 2016 opinion piece in the French Le Monde.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy, Bahrain Institute for RIghts and Democracy: The continued detention on Nabeel reflects how the Government of Bahrain’s desperate attempts to punish a leading rights activist, placing him in solitary confinement for expressing his opinion. Despite his deterioration in his health and explicit call by the UN for his release. States in the EU and the UK who failed to call for his release must speak out against this unjust imprisonment before it’s late.”

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