Bahrain Arrests Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, NGOs demand immediate release
13 June 2016 – Bahrain security forces arrested leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, early this morning. The arrest comes on the first day of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s 32nd Session. We, the undersigned NGOs, condemn the arrest of Nabeel Rajab and stress that all human rights defenders must have the freedom to operate in their country.
Updates from the Ground
- Authorities arrested 13 individuals, including 1 child.
- Criminal and appeals courts altered, upheld convictions and sentenced 7 individuals to more than 22 years in prison.
- Courts postponed the trials of 20 individuals.
- More than 36 protests were staged in 23 villages and towns in Bahrain. Security forces suppressed at least 5 protests using tear gas and shotgun pellets.
- The criminal court sentenced the former parliament member Khaled Abdula'al to 1 year in prison and BHD 1,000 bail. Khaled was convicted of insulting the MOI on Twitter after he wrote of detainees being subjected to torture by its members.
- Authorities raided the house of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and arrested him.
- Activist Zainab al-Khawaja received threats after her release that she could be re-arrested if she didn't leave Bahrain, this time being fully separated from her children. She left Bahrain with her children. The authorities took their Bahraini passports before leaving.
- Civil society members were prevented from leaving the country to participate in the UN's 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. They were informed that a travel ban has been imposed on them without any further details.
- The King issued an Association Law after amendments to the law were passed by the Parliament and Shura Council. The new law prevents clerics from working in politics.
- Professor Sherif Bassiouni stated that only 10 out of 26 BICI recommendations have been implemented by the government of Bahrain. This statement contradicts claims by the Bahraini government that all BICI recommendations have been implemented.