Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was arrested at his home on Thursday 2 April, at 4 pm local time by Bahraini police forces. His arrest is regarding a tweet he published exposing the torture of detainees in Jaw prison, according to his lawyer. He has been charged with Insulting a statutory body (in relation to his comments about the torture detainees suffer in Jaw Prison) and with spreading rumours during wartime (related to his criticism of civilian deaths caused by the air strikes in Yemen conducted by the allied forces, including Bahrain). His wife, Ms Sumaya Rajab, said “There were a lot of police, many more than needed to arrest one man. My relatives counted more than 20 police vehicles. Nabeel was sleeping and my daughter woke him to say the police had come. I went to the gate and asked what they were doing. They showed me an arrest warrant that said he was being arrested for tweets he had made about torture in Jaw prison.”
The Bahraini Ministry of Interior says that Nabeel’s tweet on Jaw Prison in “information that could incite others and disrupt civil peace”. Nabeel has been placed under solitary confinement and his date for trial is not yet known. In the meantime, Nabeel is pending appeal for another case in which he faces 6 months in jail for writing another tweet in September 2014 criticizing the Bahraini authorities. He has been on a travel ban since November 2014 and his appeal was scheduled to be heard on 15 April 2015. It was however held on 5 April and postponed, once more, until 4 May 2015 as the prosecution allegedly found new evidence.
Nabeel’s home was also raided by police authorities on 5 April and all the electronics were seized.
Since his arrest on 2 April 2015, Nabeel remains detained in solitary confinement. His detention time was postponed for a further two weeks, for the second time, on Saturday 25 April 2015.
Together with FIDH, ECDHR has sent a plea to the European Union’s High Representative/Vice-President Ms Federica Mogherini, the European Parliament’s President Mr Martin Schulz, Euro parliamentarians of the Human Rights and Foreign Affairs Committees and of the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula, members of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the EU and other relevant EU institutional stakeholders to raise awareness and seek support for Nabeel.
ECDHR demands the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab and for all charges against him to be dropped by the Bahraini Authorities. ECDHR also seeks the support from the EU institutions and stakeholders to exercise their political leverage and free Nabeel.