On 1 September, English PEN joined fellow organisations and friends of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to mark his 52nd birthday with a protest at the Embassy of Bahrain in London. Representatives of Amnesty International, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, FIDH, Index on Censorship, and Redress were among those in attendance, all jointly calling on the Bahraini government to release Rajab immediately and unconditionally.
Following his most recent arrest in June 2016, Nabeel Rajab is facing up to 15 years in prison, accused of spreading ‘false or malicious news’, ‘offending a foreign country’ and ‘offending a statutory body’ through his condemnation of the conditions in Bahrain’s infamous Jau Prison. His trial hearing is due to take place on 5 September.
There are widespread concerns for Nabeel Rajab’s health and well-being as a result of the poor conditions in which he has been held. When Rajab was granted a temporary release in order to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law on 1 September, activist Fadi Al-Qadi posted the following photo on Twitter, simply stating ‘Jail ate his health’:
— Fadi Al-Qadi (@fqadi) September 1, 2016
English PEN is also among more than 30 organisations to have written to the King of Bahrain calling for Nabeel Rajab’s release. Meanwhile, leading PEN members including Sir David Hare, Monica Ali and Wole Soyinka joined fellow judges and winners of Index on Censorship‘s annual awards to call on Prime Minister Theresa May to call publicly for Nabeel Rajab’s release.
- Share details of Nabeel’s case and calls for his release on social media #ReleaseNabeel
- Send Nabeel a message of support – email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more details
With thanks to Moosa Satrawi of Bahrain Alyoum for the video footage.