10th January 2017: Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, co- founder and director of SRT grantee the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been released on bail after more than six months’ detention and almost immediately rearrested.
Rajab appeared before a court on 28 December 2016 on charges in relation to his tweets publicising reports of ongoing torture in Jaw Prison and criticising Bahrain’s participation in Saudi Arabia-led military operations in Yemen. The court ordered his release on bail. This decision, however, was almost immediately overturned by the public prosecutor, who according to SRT grantee the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy ordered Rajab’s continued detention for seven days, citing further investigation into other charges relating to televised interviews from 2015 and January 2016 (the basis of his initial arrest in June 2016). On 5 January his detention was renewed for a further 15 days.
Rajab continues to be held in solitary confinement. He has suffered from poor health in prison, including heart problems, has been denied access to proper care, and has been held in solitary confinement for the vast majority of his pre-trial detention. In addition, on 21 December, he was interrogated in connection with a letter published in his name in the French newspaper Le Monde which urged Paris and Berlin to reassess their relationship with the Gulf states. He also faces a pending charge of “intentionally broadcasting false news and malicious rumours abroad impairing the prestige of the state” following the publication of an op-ed on 5 September 2016 in the New York Times. The charge carries an additional one-year prison sentence if convicted.
Nabeel Rajab’s next hearing is scheduled for 23 January 2017 and he remains banned from travelling.
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