Target: Bahraini King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Goal: To overturn unjust charges against prominent human rights activists Nabeel Rajab
Prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was recently handed a sentence of three years imprisonment from the Bahrain Criminal Court for his peaceful protest actions throughout the last year. Rajab is being charged with illegal gathering and disturbing public order, and is currently serving a separate three month prison sentence for a tweet posted earlier this year that “vilified the people of al-Muharraq and questioned their patriotism with disgraceful expression.” An appeal for the sentence he is currently serving is set to be heard in November, and Rajab’s lawyers plan to file an appeal for his more recent charges at the close of Ramadan.
Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and is often in the international spotlight for his political actions and protests against injustices in the Bahraini justice system. His use of social networking tools, especially twitter, has often been the cause of his arrest; in the last year alone he was arrested for a tweet that insulted the Ministry of the Interior and another that was critical of the Bahraini Prime Minister.
The Bahrain Independent Commission on Inquiry (BICI) set up by King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa has reported gross human rights violations committed in connection with recent anti-government protests, especially in regards to excessive use of force and unfair trials, often followed by torture and other ill treatment. While Bahraini authorities have investigated and noted these flaws in the justice system, they have failed to institute any system of accountability. In the case of Nabeel Rajab, his continuing convictions remain in stark contrast to the façade of reform advertised by local authorities. Sign this petition and urge Bahraini King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Skalifa to overturn charges against Rajab, releasing him immediately and unconditionally, and to respect the rights of peaceful protesters in the area.
Recent charges against human rights activists Nabeel Rajab are just another example of the lack of accountability within the Bahraini justice system and the façade of reform being showcased by local authorities. Rajab was sentences to three years imprisonment for practicing his legal right to peaceful protest, charges levied against him almost entirely as a deterrent to future protesters.
Currently, the judgmental eye of the international community rests on the actions of Bahraini authorities. The BICI disclosed a number of injustices regularly practiced against protesters in the area, while little change is being implemented to protect those that speak out. If you really want to see positive change within your country, the first step is to stop harassing those that call for a more fair and just system. We urge you to drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab and release him immediately and unconditionally. We also ask that you respect and protect the rights of protesters, including the right to free speech and assembly and ensure that all human rights defenders are able to continue their work without harassment.
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Photo Credit : Carlos Latuff via Wikimedia Commons