The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), published on 14 February 2013 a report, which presents the findings of a judicial observation mission conducted on the trial in appeal of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. The report concludes that a series of violations of the right to fair trial marred the judicial process and that Nabeel Rajab is suffering judicial harassment (and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment) for merely advocating for and exercising the right to peaceful assembly in Bahrain. The report is available in English and Arabic.
Nabeel Rajab is President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, and the BCHR was 2012 nominee for the MEA.
“Mr. Rajab’s trial reflects Bahrain’s policy and practice of criminalising the exercise of the right to freedoms of association, expression and peaceful assembly and silencing human rights defenders and other dissenting voices” declared Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. Between September and December 2012, the Observatory carried out four missions to Manama to monitor the hearings of Mr. Rajab’s trial. The report recounts the details of these missions and demonstrates that the trial in appeal against Mr. Nabeel Rajab failed to comply with international standards of fair trial. “The entire procedure was fraught with serious human rights violations from the time of arrest, through detention, trial and conviction” said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.
Though the Bahraini authorities have committed on several occasions to implement the recommendations issued by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), including the release of all prisoners of opinion, Mr. Nabeel Rajab is still detained. He is held in a prison together with ordinary criminals, though most other prisoners of conscience are held together in a separate unit.
See Observatory mission report for a full chronology of events and a list of recommendations to the Bahraini authorities, the United Nations, the European Union and others.