Prisoner of conscience released in Bahrain

Prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab is finally free!

If that name is familiar to you, it’s because the prisoner of conscience and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was repeatedly targeted for his human rights work and peaceful criticism over the past two decades. Before his release from this latest four-year detention, Nabeel Rajab was repeatedly imprisoned and released in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Some of the activism for which he was persecuted include giving television interviews and tweeting about the killing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and allegations of torture in Jaw prison. In addition to imprisonment, he endured nine months in solitary confinement.

Responding to his release, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said: 

“It is a relief that Nabeel Rajab is finally reunited with his family who bravely continued their relentless public campaign for this day to come. While this is a moment to celebrate, it is impossible to forget that he has spent almost four years unjustly separated from them, or to forget the many other peaceful activists who remain behind bars in Bahrain. Nabeel’s release must now be accompanied by the quashing of his conviction and sentence and the dropping of any outstanding charges brought against him in relation to his expression of peaceful opinion.

Bahrain’s authorities must also release all peaceful activists who remain detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and other human rights. With fears around an outbreak of COVID-19 in prisons, they must urgently consider further measures to reduce the prison population and ensure the right to health of all detainees.”