International Trial Observation Mission Report - 21 February 2018

(Publication date: 08 May 2018)

I. INTRODUCTION 

On 21 February 2018, prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajabwas sentenced to five years in prison for tweeting about the war in Yemen and poor conditions in Bahrain’s Jaw prison. Nabeel Rajab had already been sentenced to two years in prison in a separate case for media interviews and has been imprisoned under particularly harsh conditions since his arrest on 13 June 2016.

Nabeel Rajab is the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, and a member of the Human Rights Watch MENA Advisory Board. He has been a long-time human rights advocate in the Gulf region, giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves. As a result of his work, he has been repeatedly subjected to physical intimidation, questionable arrests and detention, prison sentences and travel bans from Bahraini authorities. 

On the occasion of the hearing on 21 February 2018, a coalition of human rights organisationsincluding GCHR,the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders - a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Front Line Defenders, English PEN, and BCHR mandated a trial observation mission to Bahrain[1].It was carried out by a Barrister-at-Law in Ireland, who wrote this report.

During her mission, the observer met with Nabeel Rajab’s lawyer Jalila Al-Salmanat her offices to discuss the case and the trial procedure, and attended the trial of Nabeel Rajab on 21 February 2018, along with international observers. This trial observation mission report looks at Nabeel Rajab’s trial process culminating with a five-year sentence on 21 February 2018, the compliance with international human rights treaties and the general human rights situation on the ground in Bahrain.

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