Next week the Bahraini human rights activist and Index on Censorship award winner Nabeel Rajab will have spent one year in prison on charges for which he has yet to be sentenced. Almost six months of his imprisonment, which began on 13 June 2016, has been spent in solitary confinement.
Rajab faces four separate legal charges, the trials for two of which – related to tweets criticising the war in Yemen and torture in Jau Prison, and “spreading false information and malicious rumours” over television interviews he gave in 2015 – have been postponed collectively over 20 times.
“We are particularly concerned about Rajab’s health, which continues to deteriorate due to the poor conditions and mistreatment he receives in prison,” said Melody Patry, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship. On 5 April 2017, Rajab underwent major surgery at a military hospital to remove ulcerated tissue from his lower back. He was returned to his cell at East Riffa Police Station two days later against medical recommendations.
“Rajab’s multiple hospitalisations are also preventing him from attending his court hearings and the judge has persistently refused all requests submitted by his lawyers to release him on bail, despite the length of his detention period in solitary confinement and despite the clear evidence about his fast deteriorating health,” Patry added.
Rajab faces two separate trials next week.