July 5, 2016. Today, the International Justice Network (IJN) submitted open letters to the Bahraini authorities, calling for the release of Nabeel Rajab, who is being detained solely because of the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression. Nabeel is a courageous and selfless human rights defender who has dedicated his life to advocating on behalf of all people of Bahrain. Our organization has had the great honor of working with Nabeel, and he has always inspired us to remain committed to the cause of human rights and justice, even in the face of overwhelming odds. He is kind, compassionate, and brave, as well as a loving husband and father.
Nabeel's arrest, detention, and criminal charges all stem from comments he posted on Twitter in early 2015. It is unconscionable that any individual could face up to 13 years in prison simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Nabeel's health has suffered greatly as a result of his continued confinement. He is suffering high blood pressure and ringing in his ears. On June 27, he had to be transferred to the Coronary Care Unit at the Bahrain Defense Forces Hospital after suffering from an irregular heartbeat. IJN is deeply concerned that Nabeel's health and well-being will continue to deteriorate as long as he remains unjustly detained as a prisoner of conscience.
We call on the Bahraini authorities to ensure that Nabeel receives any medical attention he requires, and that the travel ban be lifted immediately upon his release. Furthermore, we urge the Bahraini authorities to uphold the right to freedom of expression and repeal laws that criminalize the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
PDF of our appeal to Shaikh Hamab bin 'Issa Al Khalifa, His Majesty the King
PDF of our appeal to Shaikh Rashid bin 'Abdullah Al Khalifa, Ministry of Interior
For more information about how you can join us in calling for Nabeel's release, please visit Amnesty International's urgent action page for Nabeel.