Bahrain: Fears for Nabeel Rajab’s life inside his prison

Beirut - Paris - Geneva, January 25, 2018: According to a credible confidential source, Bahraini authorities have planned to interfere with prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab’s medication in a clear attempt to threaten his security and integrity. The Bahraini authorities should immediately and unconditionally release him.

“This attempted attack on Nabeel’s health is certainly not random” said today the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH - OMCT partnership), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf center for Human Rights (GCHR). It falls at a time when the government has tried to keep him under tight surveillance to prevent him from speaking out. The authorities couldn’t stop him from speaking out to defend human rights so they might be looking at other ways to silence him for good”. The situation is even more worrisome as Nabeel Rajab needs surgery and has no choice but to take the medication he is given.

“Bahrain has been cracking down on our friend and Deputy Secretary General, Nabeel Rajab for years with abusive tactics,” said Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President. “Recently alarming signals have multiplied raising security concerns regarding his detention condition. The government should put a stop to these tactics, and immediately release him. We seriously fear for his life”, he added.

“The Bahraini authorities should allow an international independent medical examination of Nabeel Rajab and the results of this examination to be duly recorded and accessible by his family. Nabeel Rajab’s life is at serious risk and he should receive urgently the medical treatment he needs by a trusted medical institution,” said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.

In the last months, a number of prominent dissidents and activists have become seriously ill in detention in Bahrain, and have been denied independent, adequate and trusted care. Authorities have detained, imprisoned, tortured, intimidated, stripped of their nationality, or forced into exile many people who peacefully opposed or openly criticized the authorities’ actions and policies. The authorities have also shut down numerous independent media outlets.

“Authorities should immediately release him and allow him to seek medical care freely from a doctor of his choice”, said Maytham Al Salman, BCHR Special Advisor. “There are fewer and fewer human rights defenders able to work in Bahrain, and they do so at great risks, even in detention, as demonstrated by this case” he added. “The harassment of Nabeel Rajab is intended to silencing the whole Bahraini society”.

Press contacts:

FIDH:  Audrey Couprie: +33 6 48 05 91 57

OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39

BCHR: Julie Gromellon: +961 81 784 437

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The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

·       E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

·       Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

·       Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29