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Written by HRDs and Journalists
Bahrain: Leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab on hunger strike after the authorities refused to allow him to attend the condolence gathering of his mother
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) express concern over the deprivation of imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab from attending on 05 October 2012, the condolence gathering for his mother, who passed away on 04 October 2012.
We are also very concerned about the allegation by the Public Prosecutor that Nabeel Rajab has violated the law through a speech that he has given during the funeral of his mother. This is an evidence of the continued violations of freedom of expression in Bahrain as well as a further harassment of the imprisoned human rights defender.
On 05 Oct 2012, authorities at the central prison refused to release Nabeel Rajab and the political activist Mohamed Jawad Parweez (sentenced to 15 years) in order for them to attend the condolence gathering of Rajab’s mother who is also Parweez’s sister. The Public Prosecutor has earlier ordered a temporary release of both Rajab and Parweez to attend the three days of the condolence gathering which last for few hours each day. However, when their families went to receive them from the prison this morning, they were told that the order of temporary release has been canceled.
Earlier on 4 Oct 2012, Nabeel Rajab was allowed to attend the funeral of his mother along with Parweez who appeared on a wheelchair as he is suffering from a pain in his back and legs due to the sever torture he subjected to following his arrest in March 2011.
Later in the day, the Bahrain news agency published a statement in which the Chief Prosecutor alleged that Nabeel Rajab has violated the conditions of his release by giving a provocative speech. Nabeel Rajab has given this speech after the funeral calling the people to continue their struggle for rights and democracy. The speech is available online here with English Subtitles and clearly it’s a peaceful expression of opinion.
Nabeel Rajab is currently serving a three years sentence for participating and calling for a peaceful protest in an exercise of his legitimate rights as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In his last hearing session at the appeal court, the Public Prosecutor tried to fabricate evidences to convict Nabeel with violence acts in contradiction to all public videos proving Rajab’s peaceful methods. For more details click here.
The GCHR and BCHR are deeply concerned that not allowing Nabeel Rajab to come to term with the death of his beloved mother, comes as part of an increasingly hostile environment that human rights defenders in Bahrain are facing which has included the repression of peaceful demonstrations, the arbitrary arrest of hundreds of nonviolent protesters, and attacks on human rights defenders and the freedom of expression in Bahrain. The GCHR and BCHR are gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Nabeel Rajab, and his family.
The GCHR and BCHR urge the US administration as well as other governments that have influence in Bahrain including the UK government, the EU, and the leading human rights organizations to:
- Call for the immediate release of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab as well as all other detained human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Bahrain;
- Put pressure on the government of Bahrain to drop all charges against detained human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience and also to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.