The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) express grave concern over the news of the removal of Nabeel Rajab from his cell to an unknown location.
Nabeel Rajab called his wife on 14 May 2013, telling her that he had witnessed the torture of young political prisoners at the hands of prison guards at Jaw prison. He raised his voice telling them to stop, and when they realized that he had witnessed what was happening, they quickly left.
Rajab asked his wife to request that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visit him in prison so he can give them his testimony of what he had witnessed. She received a phone call that evening informing her that he was reportedly removed from his cell that night by prison guards and was not returned.
BCHR and GCHR are very concerned that due to what Rajab witnessed he is being silenced by being moved to solitary confinement. There is a serious concern of ill-treatment if he is moved to solitary confinement where he loses communication with his family and lawyer.
BCHR had previously launched an appeal asking that Rajab be allowed access to adequate medical care.
BCHR and GCHR hold the Bahraini authorities, including Mohammed Rashid AlHussaini, the director of the department of correction and rehabilitation at the Ministry of Interior, fully responsible for Nabeel Rajab's health and well-being, and demand that his family be immediately informed of his whereabouts.
The rights organizations also call on the government of Bahrain to:
- Immediately release imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges against him, as it is believed that he has been targeted solely due to his legitimate and peaceful work in the defense of human rights;
- Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and activists including leading human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja;
- Immediately put an end to the practice of torture and the ill-treatment of prisoners in Bahrain and bring those responsible to justice;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
BCHR and GCHR: "We reiterate our call to the international community, especially close allies, to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to stop the ill-treatment of human rights defenders and to release them immediately as we believe they have been targeted solely for their legitimate human rights activities."