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Leading Bahraini activist returned to jail as eight stripped of citizenship

Bahrain's leading human rights activist was transferred back to jail on Wednesday despite being in ill health, as the authorities launched another round of arrests.

Nabeel Rajab was returned to jail after he was discharged from the Bahrain Defence Force hospital on Wednesday.

Rajab had been rushed to the coronary care unit on Tuesday with an irregular heartbeat.

"Nabeel never suffered heart problems before," said Sumaya Rajab, Nabeel's wife, in a statement. "My husband is a human rights defender and does not deserve this treatment."

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OMCT: Bahrain: Deterioration of the medical conditions of Nabeel Rajab

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the deterioration of the medical conditions of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and FIDH Deputy Secretary General, while in police custody and his transfer to the hospital for heart problems.

According to the information received, on June 28, 2016, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was transferred from police custody to the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital due to unprecedented heart problems, following 15 days of solitary confinement. On the same day, he was examined by a doctor. Later, Mr. Rajab was transferred back to West Riffa police station. Further medical examination should be conducted in the upcoming days.

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Amnesty International: Bahrain: Further Information: Nabeel Rajab’s trial date set for 12 July

Prisoner of conscience Nabeel Rajab was told on 26 June that his trial will begin on 12 July on charges of “spreading false rumours in times of war” and “insulting public authorities” in relation to tweets he published in 2015. He could face up to 13 years in prison if convicted. He was hospitalised on 27 June for an irregular heartbeat.

View the full report here.

Index: Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab hospitalised after 15 days in solitary confinement

Index on Censorship is deeply concerned by news that Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been hospitalised while in prison. The former Index Freedom of Expression Award-winner and a member of the judging panel at the 2016 Awards was suffering heart problems, his family said, after spending over two weeks in solitary confinement.

Rajab has been in prison since 13 June and subjected to ongoing judicial harassment to silence his human rights work. Index renews calls for his immediate release and for all charges against him to be dropped.

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BCHR President Nabeel Rajab Transferred to Hospital, Following Decline in Health

[Update: 29 June 2016 - The authorities transported Rajab back to the police station although his health was reportedly still unstable]

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses great concern for the health and well-being of detained human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, the president of BCHR. Rajab is also Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH.

On 28 Jun 2016, Rajab was transferred to the Bahrain Defense Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit after he suffered irregular heartbeats. His family was also informed that he has high blood pressure, a condition for which he was treated  with medication over two years previously. The extremely poor conditions of prison have caused the further deterioration of his health. The decline of  his physical and mental health are due to his isolated detention since his arrest on 13 June 2016.

Rajab is enduring extremely poor conditions in this pre-trial detention. He is being detained in solitary confinement, with no contact nor any interaction at all with other prisoners. The living conditions in his cell are extremely unsanitary, as the toilet and shower are unclean and unhygienic. There is either no or very little water in the bathroom. Furthermore, Rajab suffers from illnesses that are only worsened due to his detention conditions. His blood tests have shown that he suffers from a urinary tract infection and low mononucleosis, and he is awaiting the results of additional blood tests. Rajab also needs to have surgical operations to treat gallstones and an enlarged gallbladder. He also suffers from an enlarged prostate and needs to be seen by a hematologist. His surgeries will be scheduled in August.

On 26 June 2016, the authorities notified Rajab that his first court hearing in another case is set for 12 July 2016. This is a separate case over two charges related to tweets and retweets posted on twitter in 2015 about Jaw prison and the war in Yemen. He may face up to 13 years in prison if convicted in that case.

Rajab is expected to appear before the public prosecution again on 29 June 2016 for a decision on his detention. Although he has been detained pending investigation for over two weeks now, it has been noted that he wasn’t further interrogated.

BCHR believes the harassment against Rajab is in violation of Bahrain’s commitment for the protection of human rights defenders as per the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998. According to this Declaration, human rights defenders are entitled to seek protection and realization of their human rights at the national and international level. Moreover, human rights defenders have the right to and need to be protected against any form of reprisals, when submitting critical assessments and proposals for improvement towards mechanisms that prevent the realization of human rights, aimed at governmental bodies, agencies and organizations concerned with public affairs.

BCHR call on the government of Bahrain to abide by its obligations to respect and protect human rights defenders, and to immediately and unconditionally release Rajab.

BCHR also calls on the international community and Bahrain’s allies to take urgent and public actions to stand for their commitment to protect human rights defenders and to publicly call for the immediate and unconditional release of Rajab, and for an end to the government of Bahrain’s reprisals against human rights defenders.



Statement of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, on the situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain

The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, expressed concern at the decision taken by the Interior Ministry of Bahrain on 20 June 2016 to revoke the citizenship of Sheikh Issa Qassem, a prominent Shia religious leader, and on the impact this decision can have in increasing tensions among the different constituencies in the country.


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Stanford CDDRL calls on the Bahraini authorities to release travel ban on Sheikh Al Salman

Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law calls on the Bahraini authorities to release the travel ban on Sheikh Maytham Al Salman. Sheikh Al Salman was selected to participate in the 2016 Draper Hills Summer Fellowship Program at Stanford University from over 500 applicants based on the significant contributions that he has made to build more tolerant societies to counter violence and extremism in the Middle East.


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Obama's failed policy on Bahrain

In early 2011, the government of Bahrain violently cracked down on pro-democracy protesters as uprisings spread across the Middle East. The protests were brutally suppressed, and hundreds of people were arrested. Many were tortured, some to death. The crackdown sparked some pushback in Washington, which has key assets invested in Bahrain, including the 5th Fleet base.

The king of Bahrain eventually commissioned a report to investigate his government’s violent crackdown. It was an encouraging move, suggesting the ruling family might actually be prepared to take responsibility for the abuses of its police and military. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) was formally presented in November 2011.

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Bahrain Tightens the Screws

Two weeks ago, as residents of the village of Bani Jamrah in northwestern Bahrain finished their morning prayers and prepared for the long day of Ramadan fasting ahead, the calm was broken by the arrival of a group of masked policemen.

Their quarry was Nabeel Rajab, among the most respected rights activists in the Arab world, and a perennial target of the government of Bahrain, which is both a close U.S. ally and a routine violator of human rights. Long accustomed to such confrontations — he has been arrested multiple times — the veteran activist conducted himself with resignation. “The police knocked on the door, and my father told them, ‘Wait, I’ll just change,’” his son, Adam Rajab, recalled.

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Darkening skies over Bahrain for human rights

WHEN BAHRAIN announced a decision Monday to strip the citizenship of a leading Shiite cleric, Sheik Isa Qassim, it accused him of “creating an extremist sectarian environment” and claimed he had “encouraged sectarianism and violence.” In fact, Bahrain’s ruling monarchy and government are the ones fomenting division. In recent weeks, they also dissolved the main Shiite opposition group, al-Wefaq, of which Sheik Qassim was the spiritual leader.

These and other repressive measures taken lately are likely to backfire. Bahrain, a Sunni monarchy in the Persian Gulf that hosts the U.S. 5th Fleet, has been cracking heads of the opposition ever since the Arab Spring broke out five years ago and has harshly repressed those who sought a greater political voice for the country’s Shiite majority. The latest actions take the ruling al-Khalifa family still farther down the road of despotism and could trigger new waves of protest. The leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps immediately vowed to stir up an armed revolt.

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