For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights denounces yesterday’s decision by a Bahrain appeals court to uphold the prison sentence of a prominent human rights activist involved in organizing protests against the regime.
The court dropped one of three charges against Nabeel Rajab, a founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and reduced his sentence from three years to two. But Rajab’s activities do not warrant any prison time, PHR contends, joining many international organizations in calling for his release.
“By persisting in the practice of imprisoning citizens simply for exercising their right to gather peacefully and express their opinions, the Bahraini regime is once again demonstrating the hollowness of last year’s promised reforms,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of PHR. “PHR calls on the government to release Rajab immediately and drop all charges against him, and to review all of its judicial actions in the light of international human rights law.”
A year ago, the Bahraini government pledged to implement recommendations contained in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, established by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to examine allegations of human rights abuses in the crackdown that followed the Arab Spring protests of early 2011. The report’s chief author, M. Cherif Bassiouni, has been critical of the government’s uneven progress in implementing reforms, saying recently that the situation in Bahrain in some ways is worse today than it was a year ago when the report was published.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.