On July 10 the Bahraini Court sentenced the human rights defender and the President of SRT grantee the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) Nabeel Rajab to two years in prison in absentia. The Court convicted him on charges of ‘publishing and broadcasting false news that undermines the prestige of the state.’ The charges relate to media interviews he gave in 2015 and 2016 in which he criticised the Bahraini authorities. Rajab did not attend the trial due to poor health.
The trial and verdict is the culmination of more than a year of pre-trial detention in poor conditions which have caused Rajab severe health problems, resulting in his hospitalisation for several months. His prosecution was marked by serious violations of his right to a fair trial, including the right to communicate freely with his counsel and the right to he heard in person. International observers were not allowed to attend the proceedings.
Rajab is still awaiting trial in a parallel case relating to tweets and retweets he sent about the war in Yemen, and faces imprisonment of up to 15 years if convicted.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said, ‘Debating human rights on TV is not a crime and putting our president, a peaceful activist, behind bars, is just outrageous. The Bahraini government is using the Court to silence him.’
Full press release and further information from the Bahrain Center’s website: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/8860
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