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21 November 2013

Call for the immediate release of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

Re: Call for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained human rights defender Mr. Nabeel Rajab according to the provisions of the Bahraini Code of Criminal Procedure

Attn. Cheikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa,
King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587

Cheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa,
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31 284

Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa,
Minister of Interior, Fax:+973 17390000.

HE Dr. Salah bin Ali Abdulrahman,
Minister of Human Rights Affairs, Fax: +973 171 01 888

Cc: HE Mr. Nasser Al Belooshi,
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to France, Fax: +33 1 47 20 55 75

HE Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Fax: +41 22 758 96 50

Paris-Geneva, November 19, 2013

Excellencies,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of their joint programme, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, call upon the highest authorities of Bahrain to guarantee the release of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, who will have served 3/4 of his sentence on November 29th, 2013 and is therefore eligible an early release. Mr. Nabeel Rajab’s term as Deputy Secretary General of FIDH has been renewed by the newly elected International Board of FIDH at the occasion of its first meeting held in Paris on November 9, 2013.

Mr. Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), is serving a two years’ imprisonment sentence for advocating and exercising the right to peaceful assembly. He has been detained since July 9, 2012.

Between September and December 2012, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders conducted four judicial observation missions to monitor the hearings in the trial of Mr. Nabeel Rajab. A report presenting the findings of those observations concluded that the trial in appeal against Mr. Rajab failed to comply with international standards of fair trial. The entire procedure was fraught with serious human rights violations from the time of arrest, through detention, trial and conviction [1]. We consider that Mr. Rajab’s conviction blatantly violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by Bahrain [2], but also a number of basic internationally recognised human rights such as the right to fair trial.

Though the authorities of Bahrain have committed on several occasions to implement the recommendations issued by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), including the release of all prisoners of opinion, Mr. Nabeel Rajab is still detained.

Accordingly, the Observatory urges the relevant authorities to comply with both international and domestic laws and release Mr Rajab without any further delay. The Observatory calls in particular for the implementation of articles 349, 350, 353 of the Bahraini Code of Criminal Procedure. According to these provisions, detainees imprisoned for misdemeanours are eligible for an early release after serving 3/4 of their sentence given that their conduct and behaviour in prison are satisfactory.

We express our sincere hope that you will take these considerations and requests into account.

Yours sincerely,

Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH
Gerald Staberock, Secretary General of OMCT
Last Update 25 November 2013
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Footnotes

[1See Observatory Judicial Observation Mission Report: «Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Advocating and Exercising the Right to Peaceful Assembly», released on 14 February, 2013.

[2Participation in peaceful activities to protest against violations of human rights, including through peaceful assemblies, is protected under international law.

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