On Monday, 5 September a Bahraini court delayed the trial of Index award-winning human rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab for a third time. The new trial date is now 6 October 2016.
“Once again, Bahrain’s repression of freedom of expression is on display for all the world to see. Nabeel has committed no crimes. He is held for expressing opinions that people around the world take for granted. We ask Bahrain to end its judicial harassment of Nabeel and renew our call for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to urge Nabeel’s release,” Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Index on Censorship said.
Rajab faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours” under article 133 of Bahrain’s penal code; a further two years imprisonment if convicted under article 215 of the penal code for “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]” for tweets related to the Saudi-led war in Yemen and an additional three-year sentence if convicted of “offending a statutory body” under article 216 of the penal code for comments criticising conditions in Bahrain’s Jau prison.
In addition to these charges, he may also face a trial on charges of “spreading false news” for similar statements made during televised interviews last year. That case has not yet been referred to court, but is believed to have served, among others, for his arrest on 13 June.
Arrested on 13 June 2016 at his home, Rajab was held in filthy conditions and solitary confinement that have exacerbated heart and other health issues. Originally scheduled to appear in court on 12 July, the case was moved to 2 August when it was rescheduled for 5 September.
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