Bahrain: Take action to protect human rights defender Nabeel Ahmed Rajab
Since 1 July 2007, human rights defender and Vice-President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Ahmed Rajab has faced ongoing harassment and has been followed by civilian vehicles on a daily basis to and from his home. Urge the authorities in Bahrain to conduct an inquiry into the source of the intimidation with a view to identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice.
H.M Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa.King of BahrainRoyal CourtOffice of His Highness the Amir
P. O. Box 555
Kingdom of Bahrain
I would like to express my concern in relation to the ongoing harassment of human rights defender and Vice-President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Ahmed Rajab, since 1 July 2007. The BCHR is a non-governmental organisation which works to defend civil, political, economic and social rights in Bahrain.
Since 1 July 2007, Nabeel Rajab has reportedly been the subject of ongoing harassment and has been followed by civilian vehicles on a daily basis to and from his home. In 2005, he had been the target of a smear campaign from an anonymous source in which family members, friends, business associates and Government officials received letters and telephone text messages accusing him of being a “spy” and of committing “acts of treason”.
On 19 July 2005, Nabeel Ahmed Rajab was beaten by police officers whilst attending a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the Committee for the Unemployed. He suffered a broken finger, a fractured arm and a head injury as a result of the attack. More recently, in October 2006, he was summoned by the Public Prosecutor's Office for questioning in relation to BCHR's referral to the 'Bandargate Scandal' on its website.
The 'Bandargate' scandal refers to the case of Dr Salah Al-Bandar, a former advisor to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs in Bahrain, who was reportedly charged, in absentia, with seizing government papers for a report he had issued, in which he accused the government of conspiring to marginalize the majority Shia community and attempting to rig the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Reports claim that to date none of the government officials named in the report have been investigated and the government has made no official statement on the allegations.
I am deeply concerned that the ongoing intimidation and harassment of Nabeel Ahmed Rajab is intended to discourage him from carrying out his legitimate peaceful activities in defence of human rights in Bahrain, in particular the rights of freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.
I urge the authorities in Bahrain to:
1. Conduct a prompt and impartial inquiry into the source of the threats and other forms of intimidation directed towards Nabeel Ahmed Rajab, with a view to identifying those parties responsible and bringing them to justice; 2. Adopt measures to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of Nabeel Ahmed Rajab and his family; 3. Ensure that Nabeel Ahmed Rajab and other human rights defenders in Bahrain, including members of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, are free to carry out their activities in the promotion and protection of human rights without fear of intimidation or reprisals.