Last Update- 17 August 2012 Leading human rights groups have called for the immediate release of Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab, who was sentenced on Thursday to three years in prison on charges of organizing illegal protests in the country.

Amnesty Int'l: 'Dark day for justice' in Bahrain as activist receives three-year prison sentence

16 August 2012

"The court's decision is a dark day for justice in Bahrain that further questions the independence of the judiciary," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

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

“If anything, this latest verdict marks the end of the facade of reform in Bahrain. The international community can no longer be under the illusion that Bahrain is on the path of reform when such blatant ruthless tactics are being used to suppress dissenting voices. Bahrain’s international partners need to make this loud and clear to the Bahraini authorities” Read full statement on

HRW - US Should Speak Out on Nabeel Rajab Conviction

“This ruling shows that Bahrain’s rulers are committed to a policy of comprehensive repression,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of releasing people jailed for peaceful dissent, it seems determined to lock up even more people who try to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free expression.”

“Nabeel Rajab has committed no genuine criminal offense, to judge from everything Bahraini officials have said about the case, and now it is also clear that they also violated his right to a fair trial,” Stork said.

The Obama administration should raise Rajab’s case forcefully with the Bahraini government, Human Rights Watch said. Read full statement on

Front Line Defenders

17 August 2012 Front Line Defenders condemns the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab and believes that it is solely motivated by his legitimate human rights activities. The prosecution of Nabeel Rajab for exercising his rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, before a court that has consistently failed to adhere to international fair trial standards, is part of a pattern of repression by the Bahraini authorities against human rights defenders that remains ongoing despite strong international concern. Read full statement on

Reporters Without Borders

16 August 2012

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the sentenced imposed on Rajab by the Bahraini justice authorities, and calls for his immediate release and for the charges against him to be dropped.

“The fact that the hearing has been adjourned so many times raises doubts over how seriously the Bahraini court system is treating the case and how committed the authorities are to democratic reform,” the press freedom organization said.

“Once again, we stand alongside the family of Nabeel Rajab and the many voices raised in criticism of the crackdown on dissidents in the country. Pressure on the kingdom must be maintained.” Read full statement on

Human Rights First- Bahrain Regime Issues Stunning Jail Term to Nabeel Rajab

16 August 2012

“Even those of us who have followed Bahrain’s violent crackdown on human rights are shocked by today’s move,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “It’s a breathtakingly bad decision, showing that the regime’s rhetoric about reform and reconciliation is a sham. The charges are patently politically-motivated, and designed to silence him. He has consistently called for protests to be peaceful, and there is no justification for his jailing.”

“This verdict is a clear warning that those who stand up for human rights will be targeted,” said Dooley. “The intimidation of human rights defenders is intensifying. Other leadings activists, including Zainab Al Khawaja and her father, Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, remain in detention. The US Government should speak out clearly and unambiguously against today’s sentence and against the campaign of intimidation against human rights defenders. ” Read full statement on

IFEX deplores three-year jail sentence given to Bahraini member Nabeel Rajab

16 August 2012

IFEX, the world's largest network of free expression organisations, strongly denounces the three-year prison sentence handed down today to Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), for his role in pro-democracy protests.

"By sentencing Nabeel to prison, the Bahrain government is sending a strong message to the world that it doesn't care about human rights. With this decision the Kingdom's international reputation remains at stake," said Annie Game, IFEX executive director.

"Jailing the most prominent rights defender in the country is a disturbing sign for others who refuse to be silent on Bahrain's human rights record," added Game.

Read full statement on

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

16 August 2012

Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President declared : "it’s been over a year that the Bahraini people have been peacefully asking for human rights and democracy. How does the government remain so deaf to these calls? Arbitrarily imprisoning human rights defenders will not stop the people from aspiring to freedom and democratic change. We hope that the international community will firmly condemn this decision and will call for Nabeel’s release."

Read full statement on

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) Cairo on August 16, 2012

ANHRI said that the sentence against “Nabeel Rajab”, is the latest episode of the use of the Bahraini authorities to Judiciary to get rid of pro-democracy activists and put them inside the prisons. Which is regular of the security forces and intensified after the widespread protests taking place in Bahrain since more than a year.

ANHRI added that the imprisoning of ” Nabeel Rajab”Today is a punishment for his use of his right to freedom of expression and his human rights activities as well as his defense of the oppressed and his call freedom and democracy that is lacked in Bahrain, despite the pledges of the King of Bahrain to make political and social reforms in the country following the protests in Bahrain in February 2011.

ANHRI calls for the immediate release Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges against him, if the authorities want to prove that the trial of Rajab is not politically motivated and reprisals against activists. Participation in the peaceful demonstrations or calls for it is the most basic human rights in expressing his opinion, which is guaranteed by all the treaties and conventions international, which Bahrain breach it.

Read full statement on

The Observatory

The Observatory denounces the ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seem to merely aim at hindering his human rights activities and at stifling his attempts to fight corruption in Bahrain.

The Observatory calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Rajab, and is extremely concerned about the fact that a number of cases have been filed against him since May 2012, and that four of them are still pending.

More generally, the Observatory 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.

Read full statement on

Index on Censorship condemns the sentencing human rights defender and Index award winner Nabeel Rajab to three years in prison

Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship, said:

“We strongly condemn the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab for speaking out against human rights violations. It shows the lengths Bahrain’s government will go to silence activists — and exposes their token statements in favour of reform as phoney. Index calls for the immediate release of Rajab, and for the Bahrain government to respect fully universal human rights, and to implement a serious reform process as promised since last year.”

Read full statement on

EFF to Bahraini Government: Release Nabeel Rajab

EFF joins the BCHR, GCHR, and other human rights and civil liberties groups—including fellow IFEX members Index on Censorship, Freedom House, and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information—in denouncing Rajab’s sentence in the strongest possible terms and calling once again for his unconditional release.

Read full statement on