Reports of torture in Bahraini prisons

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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By Alexandra Zakreski This week CJFE has joined the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) in expressing concern over the recent treatment of Nabeel Rajab and other human rights defenders within Bahrain’s Jaw prison. Rajab is currently serving a two-year sentence for promoting peaceful, pro-democracy protests on Twitter and attending demonstrations. CJFE has repeatedly objected to the harsh punishment of human rights activists in Bahrain, many of whom have been handed severe prison sentences for exercising their right to free expression. Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, a member of the IFEX network. He has been targeted repeatedly by the Bahraini authorities for his human rights advocacy; in 2010, Rajab was subjected to a travel ban, and was subsequently arrested for his active role in the 2011 Bahraini uprising, before being dealt his current sentence. Prison authorities have persistently mistreated Rajab, denying him proper medical treatment. In the most recent event of concern, Rajab witnessed the torture of several young political prisoners by guards. After receiving two short interrupted calls from him on May 14, Rajab’s wife Sumaya has confirmed that her husband was threatened after witnessing and speaking out against the aforementioned beatings. During a visit from his wife on May 20, Rajab detailed the events of the torture and also stated that the imprisoned youths had been prevented from seeing their families. During one of the calls to his wife, Rajab suggested that prison authorities and the government were attempting to silence him. After requesting a visit from the International Committee of the Red Cross to document these events, Rajab’s calls were cut off and he has since been unreachable. These events come in the wake of the Bahraini government's refusal to allow Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, access to the country. In light of these disturbing developments, CJFE has signed onto a joint statement to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, which protests the ill treatment and torture of human rights defenders and activists in Bahrain.

Additional Resources

CJFE | Arbitrary arrest of Zainab Al-Khawaja and violation of her right to protest CJFE | Take Action: Join our call to save Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja IFEX | Bahraini rights defender Nabeel Rajab believed to be in solitary confinement IFEX | In post-revolutionary Arab states, rights situation dire IFEX | Britain not doing enough to press Bahrain on free expression issues

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