Will Bahrain’s King Stop Imprisoning Peaceful Critics?

Nabeel Rajab

Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab repeatedly has been targeted and abused by the authorities for his peaceful activism.

Update: Nabeel Rajab was found guilty today August 16, of taking part in an “illegal gathering” among other charges in relation to a protest in the capital this past February.

Just this afternoon, 19 Members of Congress sent a letter urging Bahrain’s King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa to release Nabeel Rajab, a man imprisoned for a tweet.

Nabeel is one of the “Bahrain 14” – 14 political activists sentenced to everything from three months to life in prison simply for engaging in nonviolent speech, expression, or association. Seven of the 14 have been given unbelievable life sentences in prison for their activism.


Will Congress Put Bahrain in the Human Rights Spotlight?

Bahraini boy with tear gas cannisters

Bahraini Shiite boy crouches by pile of tear gas canisters collected by protesters (AFP/Getty Images)

Against a backdrop of ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain, the US Congress is about to hold a high-level public hearing today on events in the country.  Organized by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the hearing will focus attention on whether or not Bahrain’s government has actually followed through on the promises it made to end human rights abuses and hold violators accountable.

The hearing comes at a key time. In April of this year, Amnesty International issued an important report demonstrating the Bahraini authorities’ failure to implement human rights reforms. Indeed, Bahraini courts have continued to sentence activists to prison simply for criticizing the government.

These prisoners of conscience include Nabeel Rajab, who faces 3 months in jail for tweets that the government didn’t like.  Doctors and medical workers have also been sentenced to prison following comments they made to the international media.  And then there is Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a political activist who is now imprisoned on a life sentence. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST