Bahrain regime bans US observer from witch trial

This video says abouty itself:

Julian Assange‘s The World Tomorrow: Nabeel Rajab & Alaa Abd El-Fattah

8 May 2012

In the fourth episode of The World Tomorrow, Julian Assange speaks with two leading Arab revolutionaries in the middle of conflict, Alaa Abd El-Fattah from Egypt and Nabeel Rajab from Bahrain.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a long time Egyptian blogger, programmer and political activist. His parents were human rights campaigners under Anwar Sadat; his sister Mona Seif became a Twitter star during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and is a founder of the No Military Trials for Civilians group formed under the post-Mubarak military junta.

El-Fattah was imprisoned for 45 days in 2006 for protesting under the Mubarak regime, and released after “Free Alaa” solidarity protests in Egypt and around the world. In 2011, from abroad, El-Fattah helped route around Mubarak’s internet blockade.

Nabeel Rajab is a lifelong Bahraini activist and critic of the Al Khalifa regime. … Rajab has agitated for reform in Bahrain since his return from university in 1988.

Along with the Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, he helped establish the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.

Rajab is reasonably new to the limelight — becoming a face for the Bahrain uprising of February 14 2011, after the sit-in at Pearl Roundabout. Since then, he has been a public face for the revolution, waging a social media war on Twitter with PR companies working for the regime.

After al-Khawaja was imprisoned, he led protests for his release. He has endured beatings, arrests and legal harrassment for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday 5th of May, he was arrested at Manama airport, and charged the next day with encouraging and engaging in “illegal protests.” Nabeel Rajab remains in detention at the time of broadcast.

From AFP news agency today:

Bahrain Court Bars U.S. Observer from Activist’s Tria

The United States was Tuesday seeking an explanation from Bahraini authorities after a US embassy observer was expelled from the trial of a prominent rights activist.

A representative of the U.S. embassy was asked to leave Monday’s court hearing for Shiite activist Nabeel Rajab, a State Department official confirmed.

“We are seeking additional clarification from the Bahraini government as to why she was not allowed to observe the proceedings,” deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

“We believe that an essential element of promoting national reconciliation is ensuring the confidence of all Bahrain’s citizens and our government’s commitment to due process and the rule of law.”

The U.S. has already expressed concern that the Bahraini court refused to free Rajab even though he was eligible for early release after serving two-thirds of a two-year sentence.

Rajab was arrested in the wake of the Sunni monarchy’s crackdown on a month of Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding political reforms and jailed for taking part in “unauthorized” protests.

His sentence was later reduced on appeal to two years from an initial three and according lawyers and right groups he had been eligible for early release late last month.

Bahrain Spotlight: Leading Activist Said Yousif “I’ve Been Forced Into Exile”: here. And here.

Bahrain’s violent repression of its people confirms that authoritarian regimes are more than capable of dealing with political unrest. But don’t be fooled, says Quinn Mecham. The Kingdom’s tenuous ‘ruling bargain’ has been rocked like never before: here.

Free Bahraini human rights activist

A girl holds a poster calling for the release of Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain. Photograph: Ammar Photography/Demotix/Corbis

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Human rights groups call for release of Bahraini activist

Nabeel Rajab has been jailed for three years for organising demonstrations through social networking sites

Richard Norton-Taylor

Thursday 8 November 2012 12.35 GMT

Human rights groups have called for the immediate release of a leading Bahraini activist jailed for participating in “illegal” demonstrations and organising them through social networking sites.

Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was jailed for three years in August. … Human rights organisations are stepping up pressure to try to get him freed.

“Nabeel Rajab must be the world’s first Twissident, locked up for criticising his repressive government on Twitter,” said Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve.

He added: “I know him to be an honest and decent man, who travelled far and wide to help the families whose relatives had been locked up in Guantánamo. He’s not a lawyer, and he’s the furthest thing imaginable from an extremist.”

Social media sites give the Gulf’s growing youth population a voice: here.

Bahrain regime keeps violating human rights

This video is called Bahraini women and children are being terrorized raped and tortured.

Nabeel Rajab arrested in Bahrain

From Foreign Policy in the USA:

Backpedaling on human rights in #Bahrain

By Brian Dooley

Friday, October 26, 2012 – 10:21 PM

The Bahraini government seems to understand freedom of expression a bit like Lance Armstrong understands clean cycling. Like Lance, it prefers to play by its own rules and attack critics rather than accept normal standards. The Kingdom has invented a curious definition of free expression where criticizing members of the ruling family on Twitter can land you in court. The Bahraini regime’s credibility is as damaged as that of world cycling — the government needs to implement drastic measures that go beyond public relations to restore international trust.

Bahrainis can’t say they weren’t warned. On September 9, Bahrain’s Ministry of the Interior announced it would “soon tackle crimes related to defamation and abuse on social media networks.” A senior official in the ministry noted that “some people were using the communication technology to abuse national and public figures through the Internet,” and that the ministry “had received many complaints from public figures affected by such acts who have demanded action against this.”

So it was no surprise when four men in their 20s appeared in court earlier this month on charges that they defamed Bahraini King Hamad on Twitter. One of the their lawyers, Fatima Al Mutawa, told Human Rights First that her client was questioned about quotes from the Qur’an he had tweeted. One quote was about punishing criminals and another tweet was about the corruption of Arab leaders. “He said he never used curse words in his tweets,” she said. His Twitter account has now been closed.

This seems a curious way for the Bahraini government to abide by last month’s U.N. Human Rights Council recommendation that the Kingdom improve its record on freedom of expression. If anything, it seems to be pedaling backwards.

In May, prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab was detained for three weeks after criticizing the Interior Ministry in a tweet. He was also fined $750. His appeal in that case is slated for consideration at the end of November. Rajab was also detained in June on separate charges stemming from his tweet that Bahrain’s prime minister (the king’s uncle) should step down. For that offense, Rajab was sentenced to three months in prison, a term he had nearly completed when a Bahraini court finally acquitted him on appeal.

Anyone who follows the #Bahrain hashtag on Twitter will be familiar with the constant stream of aggressive accusations from splenetic trolls, and many of us following the situation in the Kingdom are regularly subjected to personal abuse. But by targeting and intimidating users of Twitter, the government is smothering the chance for people to peacefully oppose the ruling family. Since the traditional media is largely closed to government critics and street protests are often met with excessive police force, Twitter is one of the few places where people are still able to voice peaceful dissent. Shutting off this safety valve is likely to backfire, increasing frustration with the government and inviting more ridicule of the royals.

As New York Times journalist Nick Kristof said last week, when he tweeted to 1.3 million followers that “Our ally #Bahrain arrested 4 men for defaming the king on Twitter, thus making the king look even sillier.”

The Bahraini Ministry of the Interior says that its social media crackdown is not a curtailment of freedom of speech. King Hamad insists that “people are not arrested because they express their views, we only have criminals.” Last month, Bahrain Ambassador to the U.S. Huda Nonoo claimed that “Bahrain expanded freedom of expression in response to the recommendations of the Bahrain Commission of Inquiry … As a result, His Majesty the King approved changes to Bahrain’s constitution bolstering this fundamental right.” It’s hard to tell how these promises will affect the four men officially charged with the “crime of insulting his majesty the king on their personal accounts on Twitter. ” Perhaps we’ll get an answer to that when the men are back in court on October 31.

Brian Dooley is Director of the Human Rights Defender Program at Human Rights First. You can follow Brian Dooley on twitter @dooley_dooley

Bahrain: Watch how Asians suffocate with toxic gases shot by police in Manama market: here.

Beneath Bahrain’s Shia-versus-Sunni narrative, only the tyrants benefit: here.

Bahraini Activist Condemns Sectarian Conflict Narrative: here.

Bahraini human rights activists say stop repression

This video from the USA says about itself:

Freed Bahraini Activists Nabeel Rajab & Zainab Alkhawaja Urge End to U.S.-Backed Crackdown – We go to Bahrain to speak with two recently released political prisoners, Zainab Alkhawaja and Nabeel Rajab, both jailed for protesting the U.S.-backed monarchy. Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was released on bail after being held for nearly a month.

“We always thought that America and Bahrain‘s good relations would benefit our fight for freedom and democracy in our region, but it has turned out to be opposite,” he says. “They are supporting a dictator here, the oppressive regime. … We have to suffer for being a rich region.” Alkhawaja, who was jailed in April after protesting the detention of her father, Abdulhadi, vows: “We are going to carry on protesting … It doesn’t matter if we get arrested five, six, 10 times, it’s not going to stop. In the end, we have sacrificed a lot for democracy and freedom.”

Conservative figures within the Bahraini royal family are redoubling their efforts to subdue the opposition. This is plainly visible in new arrests, media censorship, warnings to Shia clerics, and more aggressive counter-demonstration tactics: here.

In Bahrain, life in prison just for protesting. Commentary: Among the ridiculous crimes in this US ally: doctors jailed for chanting slogans, a nurse convicted for stepping on the prime minister’s photo: here.

U.S. Plans to Sell Bahrain More Arms: here.

Bahrain human rights activist Rajab arrested

This video is called HARDtalk – Nabeel Rajab – President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

From RT:

Bahrain arrests main human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

05 May, 2012, 23:09

Bahraini authorities have arrested and imprisoned Nabeel Rajab, the rights activist and foremost critic of the Al Khalifa regime. The arrest comes as the country’s military continues its brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters.

­Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was detained at Bahrain’s international airport on his return from Lebanon.

The authorities have not commented on the reasons behind the arrest.

Rajab has played a significant role in anti-regime demonstrations over the past months.

Read more here.

Index on Censorship condemns last night’s arrest of Index’s 2012 Award winner and head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab and the ongoing harassment of human rights activists in Bahrain including the arrest of those involved in peaceful protests: here.

Bahrain Live Coverage: Prominent Activist Nabeel Rajab Arrested: here.

Why F1 was wrong to go to Bahrain: here.