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Gulf Center for Human RIghts calls for immediate release of Rajab

Bahrain: Calls for the immediate release of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab
4 August, 2012 – Gulf Center for Human Rights

Beirut, 04 August 2012- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), call on the authorities in Bahrain to immediately release Nabeel Rajab, President of the BCHR and director of the GCHR and to drop all charges against him.

On 5 August 2012, the Higher Appeal Court will rule on the appeal submitted by Nabeel Rajab’s lawyers against a three-month prison sentence, which was handed down on 9 July by the 5th Lower Criminal Court. The human rights defender was found guilty of libel based on posts on his Twitter account directed at the Prime Minster of Bahrain where he highlighted his corruption and called on him to step down. (For more information see GCHR appeal dated 7 July 2012 http://gc4hr.org/news/view/190).

Nabeel Rajab’s lawyers filed two appeals the first one, requesting that the three months prison sentence be commuted into community work, was rejected by the Court. The second appeal was a request to have the sentence suspended. This is the third occasion that this appeal will be before the court. The matter had been scheduled to be heard on 18 July 2012 however the court adjourned the hearing until 24 July so that it could examine the case file. On 24 July 2012, Nabeel Rajab appeared before the court for the second time. On that occasion, the Court refused to release the human rights defender on bail and stated that it would issue its verdict on the appeal on 5 August 2012.

The human rights defender is currently being detained in Jaw Central Prison in a cell with no air conditioning despite the high temperatures. He is prohibited from talking to other prisoners apart from the two men whom he shares the cell with. Furthermore it is reported that he is suffering from a skin condition and is being denied access to a doctor and to required treatment. His family was allowed to visit him for the first time on July 19 2012 however, unlike other detainees, he is reportedly brought to the visits centre handcuffed. …more

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