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BAHRAIN: Detained Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab On Hunger Strike


Paris-Geneva, October 8, 2012 – The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), is highly concerned about the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and FIDH Deputy Secretary General. The Observatory deplores the ongoing judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Rajab.


According to information received, on October 5, 2012, Mr. Nabeel Rajab announced that he had started a ”dry” hunger strike (refusing water in addition to food) and  had stopped taking his medication, in protest against the Public Prosecutor's decision to withdraw the authorisation granted to him on October 4, 2012, to attend the second day of his mother's funeral who died on October 3. On October 5, 2012, the Public Prosecutor announced that he had withdrawn this authorization, stating that Mr. Rajab had « violated the law as he spoke to the mourners and incited them to join illegal protests »[1]. The Observatory is concerned by such a statement as it clearly aims to curtail and punish Mr. Rajab's fundamental right to freedom of expression and opinion.


Today, the court rejected the appeal lodged against the decision to maintain Mr. Rajab in provisional detention. Mr. Rajab is expected to appear before the Bahraini Appeals Court on October 16. The Observatory reiterates its call to the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and to put an end to all acts of judicial harassment against him, as his prolonged detention seems to merely aim at sanctioning his activities in favour of human rights.


The Observatory urges the Bahraini authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Rajab, as well as of all human rights defenders in Bahrain.


The Observatory recalls that the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly constitute fundamental freedoms, and that no form of criminalisation of those rights can be tolerated or justified under any circumstances.


The Observatory also urges the Bahraini authorities to ensure that international observers will be able to attend Mr. Rajab's next appeal hearing on October 16 without any hindrances.



For more information, please contact:

·       FIDH: Arthur Manet/Audrey Couprie: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

·       OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

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