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The cost of speaking out in Bahrain

Nabeel Rajab is one of at least 40 internet users sentenced to more than 842 months of combined prison time for exercising their right to free expression.

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On 13 June 2016, Bahraini authorities arrested Nabeel Rajab, who has been a defender for freedom of expression for over 15 years, in a series of repressive actions to severely restrict the work of civil society in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Since then, Rajab has been detained on charges related to his comments on Twitter, documenting allegations of torture in Bahrain's Jau Prison and criticizing the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen.

This is not the first time Rajab has been prosecuted by Bahraini authorities for exercising his right to freedom of expression. In May 2012, he was charged with “insulting a statutory body via Twitter” and detained for three weeks. In early July 2012, he was charged with insulting the prime minister in a tweet and sentenced to three months in jail. On 16 August 2012, he was sentenced to three years in prison for illegal political activities involving the use of social networking sites and was released on 24 May 2014, after serving two full years in prison.

"I've spent a great part of my time in jail for the last few years because of my criticism against the government. However, it is a price I am willing to pay for the freedom I am fighting for."
Imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

Our infographic below highlights the impacts of Rajab's detention on his life, his health, and his work and demonstrates the cost of exercising the right to freedom of expression in Bahrain.

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