(Maharat/IFEX) - 31 May 2011 - Free expression advocates from around the world gathered this week in Beirut, Lebanon, at the 16th IFEX General Meeting. Thirty IFEX members signed on to the following letter protesting the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member BCHR:
We, the undersigned members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), meeting in Beirut, Lebanon for the 16th General Meeting (GM) and Strategy Conference, call for the repeal of the travel ban enforced on Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).
On 29 May 2011, Rajab was once again prevented from travelling after he went to the airport to try to fly to Beirut to attend the IFEX GM. He was escorted from the airport and told he could not travel. He has tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to leave the country in the past few months. Rajab's family home has been attacked several times, including with tear gas and armed invasions. Other BCHR members have also been arrested, threatened with death and forced into hiding.
On 1 June, the King of Bahrain has promised to end the state of emergency he imposed in mid-March to quell pro-democracy demonstrations. This would be a welcome occasion for the Bahraini government to end human rights abuses including lifting the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab so that he can join us in Beirut.
Aliansi Jurnalis Independen/Alliance of Independent Journalists
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Centre for Independent Journalism - Malaysia
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala - CERIGUA
Committee to Protect Journalists
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Free Media Movement
Globe International Center
Independent Journalism Center - Moldova
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda
Pacific Islands News Association
Pakistan Press Foundation
Public Association "Journalists"
Southeast Asian Press Alliance