27 June 2017 – Alarmed by the deteriorating health of Nabeel Rajab, the Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri made the following statement:
“The President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab, has been held in pre-trial detention for over a year because he spoke out against human rights violations in Bahrain. During much of this year, he has been held in solitary confinement. The charges brought against him could incur up to 18 years in prison.
I am also alarmed at his state of health which has steadily worsened during his lengthy detention and especially after he underwent surgery in April. The fact that he has not been able to communicate with his family since last week is equally worrying”.
Speaking on behalf of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Mr Panzeri therefore stated: “Nabeel Rajab’s detention violates his right to freedom of expression. I call on the Bahraini authorities to grant lawyers and family members access to Nabeel Rajab, to drop all charges against him and to free him immediately.”
This statement follows a letter sent on the anniversary of Nabeel Rajab’s arrest by 37 MEPs, including Mr Panzeri, to HRVP Federica Mogherini, urging her to call for his immediate release. Human rights groups and media have also expressed public outcries at his incarceration, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, called for his release from prison at the 35th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.