Statement by State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland on the Sentencing of Nabeel Rajab

Washington, D.C. 17 Aug 2012

The Government of Bahrain has committed to respect freedom of expression and assembly and we look to it to fulfill these commitments. We are deeply concerned that a Bahraini court sentenced Nabeel Rajab to three years in prison on charges of leading “illegal gatherings.” We expect that the verdict and sentence will be reconsidered in the appeals process without delay. We urge the government of Bahrain to consider all available options to resolve this case. We believe that all people have a fundamental right to participate in peaceful acts of protest. We have repeatedly urged the government of Bahrain to take steps to build confidence across Bahraini society, and to begin a meaningful dialogue with the political opposition and civil society. Excessive punishment for peaceful expression – in this case and others – will not contribute to those efforts and only serves to divide Bahraini society further.

Statement by the spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the sentencing of Mr 1abeel Rajab in Bahrain

16 August 2012

“High Representative Catherine Ashton has noted with concern the sentencing of Mr abeel Rajab to three years in prison for taking part in unauthorised protests in Bahrain.

The High Representative expects that this sentence in Mr Rajab’s case will be reconsidered in the appeal process and that the same treatment will be given to all Bahraini citizens who are being tried for charges relating to the exercise of their fundamental freedoms. Fair and impartial justice is a key requirement to overcome the current challenges in Bahrain.

The High Representative urges all components of Bahraini society to contribute to dialogue and national reconciliation in a peaceful and constructive manner, without further delays.”

UK expresses concern at sentence for Bahraini opposition activist

16 August 2012

A Foreign Office spokesperson said:

“We are concerned at the length of sentence handed down to Mr Nabeel Rajab for charges relating to comments made on social networking sites and for incitement of illegal rallies. We urge the Bahraini Government to act proportionately in all cases. The right of individuals to peaceful protest and freedom of expression is a fundamental part of any modern democracy and must be respected. But we expect opposition activists to ensure their words and actions do not incite violence or other illegal acts.”

France - Press Briefing 16 and 17 August

16 August 2012- We are aware of the conviction of Mr Rajab.

We reaffirm our commitment to the principle of freedom of expression and encourage dialogue to allay tensions in Bahrain permanently.

17 Aug 2012- We are disturbed by the harsh sentence imposed on Mr. Rajab and hope it will be reviewed on appeal.

We remain concerned by the continuing tensions in the kingdom of Bahrain and reiterate our strong commitment to the principles of freedom of expression and right to demonstrate peacefully.

We invite all parties to engage in constructive dialogue, the only way to calm the situation.