Bahrain dictatorship jails human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

This video says about itself:

Bahrain re-arrests top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

13 June 2016

A prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, has been arrested, his family members said on social media. Rajab led numerous protests during the Arab Spring and repeatedly criticized the Bahraini government on Twitter.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

Time for Washington to Act as U.S. Ally Bahrain Targets Human Rights Defenders

By Brian Dooley

June 13, 2016

Over the last few days the Bahraini government eliminated any remaining doubt about the direction it is moving on human rights.

After forcing prominent dissident Zainab Al Khawaja into exile last week, on Saturday it prevented a group of human rights activists from attending the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, and today took leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab from his home in an early morning raid.

This latest attack on civil society comes just as the State Department is about to release its long-overdue report on how well the Bahraini regime is doing on implementing human rights reform. It’s hard to see why administration officials missed the February 1 deadline and still haven’t sent the report Congress asked for. The situation isn’t that complicated—the Bahraini authorities have carried out only a small handful of the 26 recommendations they promised to fulfill in 2011, and in recent weeks have intensified their attacks on human rights activists.

Rajab was arrested a few hours ago and is said to be held at Riffa police station. It’s unclear if he will be released, if fresh charges are to be brought against him, or old ones resurrected to put him back in prison. He has been prevented from leaving the country since he was released from jail a year ago.

Over the weekend, half a dozen other activists were also prevented from attending the U.N. Human Rights Council. One of them, Ebtisam Alseagh, told me: “I went to the airport on Saturday the passport officer prevented me from traveling and said I should ask at the Ministry of the Interior. So I went the next day but they said there was no note in their security files preventing me from traveling,” she said. “So a few hours later I tried to leave Bahrain by road via Saudi Arabia but again I was stopped at the border without any explanation.”

Another, Hussain Radhi, told me a similar story: “I went to the airport Saturday night to go to Geneva for the human rights council. The passport officer said I couldn’t travel—he said he couldn’t tell me why. Then Sunday I tried to leave via the causeway to Saudi Arabia and was stopped again. It’s clear the authorities don’t want activists going to Geneva.”

Today the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad Al-Hussain, again criticized Bahrain’s regime for its human rights record, rightly noting that “Repression will not eliminate people’s grievances; it will increase them.”

But Bahrain’s ruling family is clearly past caring what the international community, including its allies in Washington and London, say in statements of concern.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa, a senior royal, dismissed the U.N. High Commissioner’s comments in a tweet that said “We won’t waste our time answering a powerless commissioner.”

Bahrain’s impunity continues also because there are too many American and British officials who are willing to believe evidence of fake reform.

A year ago the State Department even thought it was a good idea to lift holds on arms sales to Bahrain’s military, citing “meaningful progress on human rights.” Such a hopelessly naive analysis does nothing to deter the dictatorship, which earlier this month increased the jail sentence for peaceful opposition leader Shiekh Ali Salman from four to nine years.

What’s clearly needed now are consequences for these repressive acts.

Congress is considering bipartisan legislation which would ban the sale of small arms to Bahrain’s security forces until real human rights reform has been achieved. It won’t solve all Bahrain’s problems but it’s one tangible way for Washington to show it’s finally prepared to stand with Bahrain’s civil society.

Bahrain’s interior ministry announced last week that the ruling Sunni monarchy had decided to strip top Shiite Muslim cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim of his citizenship. It is part of a broader crackdown on all opposition: here.

A BAHRAIN court issued an order yesterday for the dissolution of the Al-Wefaq opposition group that led 2011’s anti-monarchy protests: here.

19 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship jails human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

  1. Wednesday 15th June 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    Al-Wefaq banned to ‘safeguard security’

    BAHRAINI authorities suspended opposition party al-Wefaq and froze its assets yesterday in a new crackdown on democratic dissent.

    A statement from the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry claimed that a court had decided to suspend al-Wefaq to “safeguard the security of the kingdom.”

    The party led protests in 2011 against the monarchy and in favour of democracy on the island, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

    Those demonstrations were crushed with the help of troops from neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Al-Wefaq lawyer Abdulla al-Shamlawi said he was only served the court papers for the hearing yesterday morning and had to argue to be allowed to offer any sort of rebuttal.

    He said the complaint charged that al-Wefaq had jeopardised Bahrain’s national security since its founding in 2001 and also accused it of causing public unrest during the 2011 protests.

    “It was out of the blue,” Mr Shamlawi said. He said the court scheduled an October 6 hearing to decide whether to “liquidate” the party altogether.

    He said Al-Wefaq would “presumably” appeal against the ruling.

    The hearing took place the day after after authorities detained prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, who is the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

    Fellow campaigner Zainab al-Khawaja fled to Denmark in recent days for fear of being imprisoned again.

    In a speech on Monday, United Nations high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said at least 250 people had been deprived of their citizenship in Bahrain in recent years “because of their alleged disloyalty to the interests of the kingdom.

    “Repression will not eliminate people’s grievances, it will increase them,” the Jordanian prince warned.

    Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa responded to Mr Hussein’s remarks on Twitter by writing: “We will not allow the undermining of our security and stability and will not waste our time listening to the words of a high commissioner who is powerless.”


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  15. Rights activist jailed for 2 years

    BAHRAIN: Prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday.

    He was convicted of charges related to TV interviews he gave in which prosecutors allege he disseminated rumours and false news relating to the situation inside Bahrain.

    He helped lead Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring protests, when tens of thousands of Shi’ites took to the streets to demand a greater say in government.


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