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Leading Bahraini rights defender Nabeel Rajab arrested again

Tine Poppe

UPDATE (2 October 2014): The Public Prosecution announced today that Nabeel Rajab is being detained for seven days pending investigations. (Arabic Network for Human Rights Information)

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) president and well-known human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who was only recently released after serving a gruelling two-year sentence in Bahrain's Jaw Prison, was arrested again on 1 October 2014. He was detained one day after his return from an international advocacy tour at the United Nations and the European Union.

The Bahrain Ministry of Interior said that the General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security summoned Rajab to "interview him regarding Tweets posted on his Twitter account that denigrated government institutions."

As Rajab was heading over to the Cyber Crimes Department on 1 October, he posted this picture of himself on Instagram and, in Arabic, captioned it by saying, "departing to be investigated and my prison suitcase is my ally." It appears Rajab seemed to be expecting arrest.

Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament, weighed in on his arrest after having met with him earlier last week.

Ala'a Shehabi, the co-founder of the independent research and advocacy organisation Bahrain Watch, thinks Rajab might have been charged with "insulting a public institution" because of the following tweet:

John Horne, a member of Bahrain Watch, agrees.

As the news of his arrest spread, support for Rajab immediately flooded social media networks.

According to Rajab's wife, he will be taken to the public prosecutor tomorrow [2 October 2014].

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Index calls on UK to speak out against Bahraini human rights abuses after Rajab arrest

    “Index is deeply concerned that the UK government has done little to press Bahrain to improve its human rights record. Instead the UK talks repeatedly of improvements in the human rights system in Bahrain when it is clear that rights such as freedom of expression are not being respected.”

  • Bahrain: Arrest of leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab for tweets

    It should be noted that Rajab has over 239,000 followers on twitter (@NabeelRajab) and his voice online is one of the most prominent in Bahrain, and across the Middle East.

  • Bahrain: Rights activist detained

    “These charges show that Bahrain’s rulers are determined to silence one of their most outspoken critics,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “In arresting a peaceful critic, Bahrain’s government has shown its contempt for basic rights like free speech.”

  • Wave of arbitrary arrests of dissident information providers

    “We call on the judicial authorities to drop the charges against Rajab, Radhi and all other news and information providers who have been arrested arbitrarily,” said Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles. “We also urge the Bahraini authorities to stop putting direct pressure on anyone daring to transmit opinions or information at variance with those authorized.”

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