Bahrain: FIDH Deputy Secretary General is Finally Free!

Press release
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FIDH and 46 of its member organisations around the world celebrate the release of their Deputy Secretary General Nabeel Rajab, who was finally released from Jaw prison on a non-custodial sentence on Tuesday, after spending nearly four years in arbitrary detention in relation to tweets and media interviews criticising Bahrain’s human rights record.

"Nabeel’s release is fantastic news— the result of a relentless, collective fight of the human rights movement as a whole. We recall, however, that he should have never been jailed in the first place, and that his non-custodial sentence does not amount to total freedom."

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President

Nabeel Rajab is the co-founder and president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), as well as founding director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). In March 2020, he was reelected as FIDH’s Deputy Secretary General. He has been one of Bahrain’s most vocal human rights defenders, denouncing torture of detainees at Jaw prison and exposing the killing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition, among many other issues. He has faced continuous judicial harassment as a result, and was arbitrarily detained from June 13, 2016 until his release Tuesday June 9, 2020.

Over the past four years, FIDH, alongside its member organisations, mobilised for his release through public statements, trial observation missions, international advocacy, awareness-raising campaigns, as well as FIDH resolutions on arbitrarily detained human rights defenders – adopted during FIDH’s 39th Congress in Johannesburg in 2016 and 40th Congress in Taipei in 2019.

"The release of Nabeel gives us hope and must pave the way for the release of other jailed rights defenders: Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel, who have been arbitrarily imprisoned for far too long, must now be freed. We will keep working for justice and for their rights."

FIDH Secretary General Shawan Jabarin

In 2018, Bahrain introduced new legislation allowing its courts to convert jail terms into non-custodial sentences. Over the past months, hundreds of prisoners have been freed but Nabeel Rajab is the only human rights defender who has been released so far. His non-custodial conditions are yet to be clarified.

Signed by:

Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) (France)
HRM "Bir Duino -Kyrgyzstan"
The Human Rights Center, Georgia (HRC)
Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa)
La Ligue Ivoirienne des Droits de l’homme (LIDHO)
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) (India)
Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights
The Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO)
Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits Humains (MIDH)
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
Ligue de Défense des Droits de l’Homme en Iran (LDDHI)
Armanshahr|OPEN ASIA (Afghanistan)
Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte (Germany)
Odhikar (Bangladesh)
Liga Voor de Rechten Van de Mens (The Netherlands)
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) (Uganda)
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies – CIHRS (Egypt)
Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (Syria)
The Finnish League for Human Rights
INREDH (Ecuador)
Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial (Russia)
APDHE (Spain)
CALDH (Guatemala)
Human Rights Association (İHD)
CEDAL-Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo (Perú)
La Ligue Burundaise des droits de l’homme Iteka
La ligue Centrafricaine des Droits de l’Homme (LCDH)
League for Defence of Human Rights - LADO (Romania)
Réseau national de défense des droits de l’Homme (RNDDH) (Haïti)
Ligue suisse des droits de l’Homme (LSDH) (Switzerland)
Comité de Accion Jurídica (CAJ) (Argentina)
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Peoples Watch (India)
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT-TIHV) (Turkey)
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS)
Al-Haq (Palestine)
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Palestine)
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (Egypt)
Civil Society Institute (CSI) (Armenia)
Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU) (Ecuador)
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

Souhayr Belhassen - FIDH Honorary President
Karim Lahidji - FIDH Honorary President
Patrick Baudouin - FIDH Honorary President

Laurent Munyandilikirwa - Défenseur des droits humains

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