Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and the withdrawal of all the charges against him. Rajab was arrested on his return from a visit to Lebanon on 5 May and was placed in custody for an initial period of a week when he appeared in court yesterday.
“By arresting Rajab again, the Bahraini authorities have given yet another example of how they shamefully flout fundamental freedoms without fear of reprisals by the international community,” Reporters Without Borders said,
Rajab was brought before a Manama court yesterday on a charge of participating in an illegal meeting and urging others to take part in it. He was also questioned by prosecutors about a Tweet in which he allegedly insulted government officials. Charges were previously brought against Rajab in connection with his criticism of the authorities a year ago, when he was also the target of physical violence.
As already reported, the Bahraini government used a spurious pretext to abruptly withdraw its permission for a visit by a delegation of free speech NGOs including Reporters Without Borders that had been scheduled to take place from 5 to 10 May.