United Nations, State Department Condemn Bahrain’s Detention of Nabeel Rajab


nabeel_rajab_0Photo Credit: Human Rights Defenders

Both the United Nations and the United States State Department issued statements on Bahrain’s detention of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.  Bahraini authorities detained Rajab upon his return from a trip during which he met with the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva. The government accused Rajab of “publicly insulting a Government institution on social media.”

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville released press briefing notes in which he expressed alarm at Bahrain’s detention of  Rajab. Colville urged “Bahraini authorities to immediately release Nabeel Rajab and all other individuals detained for peaceful exercise of their rights. Human rights defenders in Bahrain must be able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.”

In a press briefing Friday morning State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the State Department is “concerned” by the Government of Bahrain’s detention of Rajab. She urged “the Government of Bahrain to protect the universal rights of freedom of expression and assembly and to reconsider charges against citizens accused of peaceful expression of opinion.”

In a news release published by the Human Rights Watch, deputy Middle East and North Africa director Joe Stork said that Bahrain’s detention of Rajab demonstrated their “contempt for basic rights like free speech.” Stork added that “Nabeel Rajab has consistently criticized the Bahraini government when it deserves to be criticized, peacefully and at great personal cost. The US and the UK haven’t pressed Bahrain hard enough to counter its widespread repression and intolerance of public criticism.”