The Observatory denounces the new arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seems to merely aim at hindering his human rights activities and at stifling his attempts to fight corruption in Bahrain. The Observatory also recalls that normally, Courts issue fines for cases of libel, and not imprisonment sentences. The Observatory calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Rajab, and is extremely concerned about the fact that four cases have been filed against him since May 2012.

The Observatory more generally urges the Bahraini authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Mr. Rajab, and to comply with the relevant international norms and standards, in particular the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, and international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain. (More)

Bahrain must immediately release a prominent human rights activist and prisoner of conscience sentenced to three-month's in prison following his conviction for libel, after the authorities took exception to a post he made on Twitter, Amnesty International said today.

"Nabeel Rajab's imprisonment is the latest example of how, despite government promises to introduce reforms following its violent crackdown on protesters in 2011, few improvements have been seen on the ground. It’s clear that repression of freedom of expression is continuing with impunity in Bahrain," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Programme Director.

"Like many others in Bahrain, Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He should be released immediately and all other charges or convictions against him dropped or overturned. The authorities must also act to ensure that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal." (More)

HRW - The Bahraini authorities should immediately release the prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab and overturn his conviction for posting an “insulting” tweet, which violates his freedom of expression. The authorities should immediately suspend, and then abolish, the use of any criminal laws that violate freedom of expression, including those that criminalize “insults” and peaceful criticism of the government.

“If anyone is guilty of insult today, it is the Bahraini government, which has reminded citizens they’re not free to express political views,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Using masked men to arrest Rajab, a champion of peaceful protest and human rights, would be laughable if the reality wasn’t so tragic.”


Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the latest conviction and three-month sentence imposed on the activist Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, for posting messages on Twitter on 2 June that were alleged to be libellous.

The eagerness with which the authorities have pursued Nabeel Rajab, whose only crime was to express himself freely, is yet another affront to human rights activists,” the press freedom organization said. “The international community must step up its pressure on the kingdom, which is pursuing its crackdown against dissident voices with impunity.

“We urge Bahrain’s judicial authorities to concentrate its efforts on the cases of torture and serious human rights violations of the past few months and to call the perpetrators to account.” (More)