NGOs Call on UN to Demand Immediate Release of Nabeel Rajab


On the first anniversary of the detention of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, 15 human rights organizations signed a letter addressed to the UN Member and Observer States to call on the Bahraini authorities to release him immediately.


The undersigned expressed their deep concern over the continued detention of Rajab, on the first anniversary of his arrest. “We urge you to call for his immediate release and for all charges against him to be dropped,” the letter read.


Nabeel Rajab was arrested on 13 June 2016. He remains detained despite a court order to release him on 28 December 2016. He faces three separate legal cases, the trials for two of which have been postponed 23 times. In all cases, Rajab is being prosecuted for exercising his right to freedom of expression and faces up to a total of 18 years behind bars.


“We are particularly concerned about Rajab’s health, which continues to deteriorate due to poor conditions and mistreatment,” the undersigned pointed out. On Wednesday, 5 April 2017, Rajab underwent major surgery at a military hospital. Against medical advice, he was returned to his cell at East Riffa Police Station two days later. The following day he was rushed to the police clinic for emergency treatment. On 7 June, he underwent minor surgery. Rajab’s health prevents him from attending his court hearings. The presiding judge has refused all requests submitted by his lawyers to release him on bail, despite the length of his detention period in solitary confinement and clear evidence about the deteriorating condition of his health.

Urgent international pressure for Nabeel Rajab’s release is needed, the letter highlighted. “We urge your delegation to call on Bahrain to end the unlawful detainment of Nabeel Rajab and to release him immediately and unconditionally.”


The undersigned NGOs include: Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, CIVICUS, English PEN, European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, IFEX, Index on Censorship, PEN International, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights