Wednesday, July 11, 2012
11 July 2012
"Bahrain must immediately release a prominent human rights activist and prisoner of conscience sentenced to three-month's in prison following his conviction for libel, after the authorities took exception to a post he made on Twitter, Amnesty International said today.
Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested on 9 July, just hours after a court in the capital Manama sentenced him for libel following a complaint made against him by the people of al-Muharraq area, north of Bahrain, for “publicly vilifying the al-Muharraq people and questioning their patriotism with disgraceful expressions posted via social networking websites”.
"Nabeel Rajab's imprisonment is the latest example of how, despite government promises to introduce reforms following its violent crackdown on protesters in 2011, few improvements have been seen on the ground. It’s clear that repression of freedom of expression is continuing with impunity in Bahrain," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Programme Director.
"Like many others in Bahrain, Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He should be released immediately and all other charges or convictions against him dropped or overturned. The authorities must also act to ensure that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal."........."