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IFEX appeals for release of Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

The following is an IFEX appeal to the King of Bahrain and other authorities to free Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, an IFEX member:

King Shaikh Hamad bin 'Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa'a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1766 4587

HE Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1753 1284
Email: minister@justice.gov.bh
Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali

Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa
Minister of Interior, Fax:+973 17390000.

HE Dr. Salah bin Ali Abdulrahman
Minister of Human Rights Affairs, Fax: +973 171 01 888

23 November 2013

RE: IFEX appeals for release of Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

Your Excellencies,

IFEX, the global network for free expression made up of 88 members in 60 countries worldwide, is appealing to you to free Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), an IFEX member. We understand that as a prisoner with a record of good behaviour, he is eligible for conditional release on 29 November 2013.

We firmly believe that this would be an ideal opportunity for the government of Bahrain to demonstrate to the world that Bahrain operates according to its laws by freeing Nabeel Rajab.

We feel Rajab has been unfairly imprisoned since 9 July 2012 for practicing his legitimate rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly – which the government of Bahrain criminalises and labels as “illegal gatherings.” In December 2012, a three-year sentence for “participation in illegal gatherings and calling for a march without prior notification” was reduced to two years by an appellate court in what we believe was an unfair hearing that did not uphold basic legal standards for fair trial.

According to our members and partners, as of 29 November 2013, Rajab will have completed three-quarters of his two-year prison sentence, including the period he spent in temporary detention following his earlier arrest on 6 May 2012. As such, Rajab will be eligible for release according to article 349 of the Bahraini Criminal Procedure Code no. 46 of the year 2002, which states: “Any prisoner sentenced to a penalty depriving him of liberty may be conditionally released if he has spent in prison three-quarters of his sentence and has shown trustworthy behavior while in prison, unless his release would cause a threat to public security.”

We do not believe that Rajab is a "threat to public security," in fact; we believe that he has proven the contrary and can help promote peace and national unity.

Rajab is known for his peaceful views and has been honoured with a number of awards, including from other IFEX members. He is well-known worldwide and has connections with many prestigious human rights groups. In addition to being President of BCHR, Rajab is Secretary-General of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), is on the MENA Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch and is Deputy Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

We ask you to please free him this month, as is his due, and thank you in advance for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Annie Game
IFEX Executive Director

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