Monday, July 09, 2007

Bahrain: Activists once more, Security Authorities persist to harass Rajab

The human activist Nabil Ahmed Rajab (1964) - Vice Bahrain Center for Human Rights- has been exposed, once again, to severe and continued harassment, exemplified recently in the daily pursuits by civilian cars to and from home since last Sunday. Mr Rajab stated to «Al-Wasat» newspaper that: «the work of human defenders and activists in Bahrain, since 2001 and even today, is public and not confidential, as it was during the era of state security. The Government does not need to adopt methods of surveillance, tapping phones and trailing activists in front of their homes and workplaces». He continued «the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is well informed of what we are doing, as it is on my email list. What is sent to the press and people is also sent to the MOI. This method of surveillance is not the first, but already been practiced by more than one car in 2005, and this shows that the State does not believe in transparency».

This is not the only case, not the first of its kind, which Rajab was exposed to, in a campaign by the Bahraini Authorities targeting activists. In last March, the Public Prosecution Office in Bahrain summoned Mr. Rajab to investigate charges of defamation by one of the persons whose name was among implicated in the Bandergate[1] scandal. At the same instance, the same office has not shown any form of interaction-even for once - with the numerous complaints made by Mr. Rajab, and his wife, concerning the threatening messages of threat, slander and intimidation which were unusually delivered via mail and short text messages.
Not sufficient to the security body, Mr Rajab was targeted by the military forces while being ready to participate in a march of the unemployed on July 15, 2005, which caused a sliding disc in his back, as a result the attack on him along with a small group of activists and demonstrators. He was transferred instantly to a Government hospital[2]. The members of the military troops attacked Rajab, using plastic batons and kicked him in various parts of the body, especially the back and head, after he made himself known to them, and was recognised.

In order to learn about human rights issues in which Nabil Rajab was involved, it is sufficient to click his name in any of the search engines to obtain a long and assorted list, reflecting the diversity of the issues and active pursuits. Suffice it to refer to his participant management of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), which was dissolved by the Bahraini Authorities in September 2004, via administrative decision supported, endorsed later by the known to be independent jury as well as through the Court of Appeal. This is after BCHR’s addressing human rights, considered sensitive by the Bahraini Authorities. Among the issues, in which Rajab was involved through his post in the BCHR, include the sectarian discrimination and favoursim, poverty and economic rights, corruption and misappropriation of public lands, torture and prosecution of those accused of murder and torture in Bahraini jails and prisons, human trafficking, women's rights and migrant labours, freedom of expression and laws violating basic rights, activists, detainees of conscience and human rights defenders. Rajab supported- through BCHR also- effectively and directly the activities of the detainees of expression and various popular committees, which resulted in his exposure, and his colleagues, to repeated severe attacked and brutal beating in several occasions, which were treated in hospital, more than once.

Rajab has been eminent in media participations, as well as in many international conferences, courses, and in sponsorship and support of numerous petitions -personal and institutional- and international appeals to protect activists, detainees of conscience and the rights being blatantly and systematically violated. The latest petition addressed to Bahraini Authorities on the first Bandergate report. Rajab was part of the 22 national figures set the invitation and participated in a popular sit-in and march on, respectively, 17 and 24 November 2006 in protest to the contents of the scandalous report, demanding impartial inquiry commission and prosecute those implicated in the scandal. It was also among the initiators of the march in protest to the honor of the Bahraini prime minister, which was prevented by force by the Security Authorities and threatened to use live ammunition against the advocates.

The act of the Bahraini Authorities in the harassment of Nabil Rajab comes within a campaign to target activists and defenders of the rights, and is backed by influential posts in Authority to control their activities and prevent them from delivering. The Authorities have not been able to face popular demands to deal positively with what was addressed in Al-Bander reports which refers to the involvement of individuals and institutions in relation to the ruling family. Therefore, start in the targeting program was expected in order to introduce diversion to the popular demand, in relation to what were stated in the scandalous report and turned it into legal and security issues led by guided prosecution, impartial judicial system, to engage those activists and defenders, as well as ferocious security body known of crossing norms and international charters.

Targeting rights activist Nabil Rajab is a reaction of the security lead Bahraini Authorities to his, and his colleagues, human rights and media activities at the local and international levels, aiming to break the will of those activists, including Rajab. Accordingly, the Committee of Activists:
Ø Holds the Bahraini Authorities liable and responsible for any incidents to Nabil Rajab and his family-physically or psychologically-and in any format produced.
Ø Calls for rationality and desist from these methods, which have proven to be fruitless, characterized the previous era and led the country to a state of crisis and loss of security and stability.
Ø Invite the UN Special Rapporteur for the protection of activists and human rights defenders to intervene to the protection of rights activist Nabil Rajab and the rest of the activists in Bahrain from the ruling Authorities prejudice and maliciousness attacks of various security organs.

Committee of Solidarity with Activists and Detainees of Conscience in Bahrain
July 8th , 2007