BAHRAIN: The European Parliament renews its call for the release of Nabeel Rajab

Urgent Appeal
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Paris-Geneva, February 7, 2014 - On February 6, 2014, the European Parliament renewed its call for the immediate and unconditional release of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH.

The European Parliament crucially pointed out the extent to which Bahrain tramples on the law by keeping Mr. Nabeel Rajab in jail. It highlighted the fact that not only does Bahraini domestic law confirms that the latter is legally eligible for release, but also refers to the fact that his detention has been clearly recognised as arbitrary by the United Nations.

It is clear, from the reading of the European Parliament’s resolution, that continuous refusal to release Mr. Nabeel Rajab would be additional evidence that, in fact, and despite repeated promises by Bahrain to conform to human rights law, Bahrain offers no credible progress.

“This European position both clarifies and emphasises how concrete measures regarding the release of arbitrary detained prisoners, the implementation of the BICI report and the Universal Periodic Review, and the visit of UN Special Rapporteurs, are required for the EU to conclude on credible progress in Bahrain”, said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “No more promises, the European Union now requires action”, he added.

“It is vital for the EU to keep standing up for what should be evident global principles: The liberation of human rights defenders and an end to impunity - two unkept promises following the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry”, said OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock. “Progress on human rights will neither be credible nor real for as long as human rights defenders are not free or cannot work without fear of arrest and if impunity for torture remains pervasive and complete”, he urged.

The Observatory (an FIDH-OMCT joint programme) welcomes the overall picture given by the European Parliament, its call to “release all prisoners of conscience, political activists, journalists, human rights defenders and peaceful protesters, including Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Ibrahim Sharif, Naji Fateel, and Zainab Al-Khawaja”, and its recognition that it is time now for the European Union as a whole to engage in a stronger way with Bahrain.

For more information, please contact:
FIDH: Arthur Manet: +33 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39

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