[The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) issued the following urgent appeal after failing to confirm the status and whereabouts of Nabeel Rajab.]
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) express grave concern over the news of the removal of Nabeel Rajab from his cell to an unknown location.
Nabeel Rajab called his wife on 14 May 2013, telling her that he had witnessed the torture of young political prisoners at the hands of prison guards at Jaw prison. He raised his voice telling them to stop, and when they realized that he had witnessed what was happening, they quickly left. Nabeel Rajab asked his wife to request that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visit him in prison so he can give them his testimony of what he had witnessed. Rajab’s wife received a phone call that evening informing her that Nabeel was reportedly removed from his cell that night by prison guards and was not returned.
The BCHR and GCHR are very concerned that due to what Nabeel Rajab witnessed he is being silenced by being moved to solitary confinement. There is a serious concern of ill treatment if he is moved to solitary confinement where he loses communication with his family and lawyer.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights had previously launched an appeal about allowing Nabeel Rajab access to adequate medical care which can be found here: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5719.
The BCHR and GCHR hold the Bahraini authorities, including the Director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation in the Ministry of the Interior Mohammed Rashid AlHussaini, fully responsible for Nabeel Rajab’s health and wellbeing, and demand that his family be immediately informed of his whereabouts.
The BCHR and GCHR call on the Government of Bahrain to:
1. Immediately release imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges against him, as it is believed that he has been targeted solely due to his legitimate and peaceful work in the defense of human rights, and the exercise of freedom to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in accordance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
2. Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and activists including leading human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.
3. Immediately put an end to the practice of torture and the ill treatment of prisoners in Bahrain and bring those responsible to justice.
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
We also reiterate our call to the international community, especially close allies, to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to stop the ill treatment of human rights defenders and to release them immediately as we believe they have been targeted solely for their legitimate human rights activities.