STATEMENT
Bahraini injustice: Nabeel Rajab conviction for tweeting upheld
31 Dec 2018
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP
Nabeel Rajab, BCHR - winner of Bindmans Award for Advocacy at the Index Freedom of Expression Awards 2012 with then-Chair of the Index on Censorship board of trustees Jonathan Dimbleby
Nabeel Rajab, BCHR - winner of Bindmans Award for Advocacy at the Index Freedom of Expression Awards 2012 with then-Chair of the Index on Censorship board of trustees Jonathan Dimbleby.

Bahrain’s Court of Cassation has upheld human rights activist Nabeel Rajab’s five-year conviction for critical tweets made from his account condemning Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen and the use of torture at Bahrain’s notorious Jau Prison.

Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and a 2012 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award winner, has been sentenced in all to seven years in prison across two separate trials. In February 2018 he was given five years for the tweets in addition to a two-year conviction in June 2017 for “broadcasting fake news” relating to television interviews he gave in 2015, a conviction that remains upheld.

“Nabeel Rajab has suffered relentless harassment and intimidation for expressing opinions,” Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said. “Index reiterates: opinions are not crimes. Bahrain must immediately release Nabeel and we call on Bahrain’s allies — including the UK — to advocate for this in the strongest possible terms.”

Rajab, known for his peaceful involvement in the Bahrain uprising of 2011, had unsuccessfully appealed the tweet convictions on four previous occasions and this was his fifth and final appeal. He has been in prison on a continual basis since June 2016, during which time his health has deteriorated significantly.

Bahrain must suspend Nabeel Rajab’s sentence

Nine international organisations have written a letter calling for Bahrain to suspend Nabeel Rajab’s current sentence.

The people most at risk in Bahrain “are those who choose to freely express themselves”

Index calls on the UK to stand up to the Bahrain government on human rights after police storm the London embassy to protect protester

Ebtisam Al-Saegh: “I think about justice and justice for the rest of the victims”

“My main objective is to tell about the truth and whatever is going on on the ground,” said Ebtisam Al-Saegh, a Bahraini human rights activist, told Index on Censorship.

Open letter to Bahraini authorities: Drop all charges and release Nabeel Rajab

NGOs are concerned that, with Nabeel Rajab’s appeal hearing scheduled on 31 December, authorities may be planning to increase his sentence under cover of the world’s celebrations of the new year.

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