Nabeel Rajab: “Americans are Against Democracy in Bahrain Now”
Nabeel Rajab interviewed with Julian Assange before his arrest, in which he spoke about the lack of media coverage in Bahrain and the hypocrisy that has come to light in Western foreign policy. “For example,” Rajab says, “the same United States which asked Russia not to sell arms for Syria, they are selling arms to Bahrain.” Rajab also interviewed with the BBC‘s HARDtalk, in which he criticized the irony of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, as the King had involvement. Following these interviews, Rajab was arrested and remains detained. Freedom House called for his release, reminding people that Bahrain is ranked as “Not Free” in its Freedom of the Press Index. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its own statement demanding the release of all Bahraini human rights defenders, specifically mentioning Rajab by name. A joint letter was sent to E.U. High Representative of Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton making her aware of Rajab’s situation, and urging her to reiterate her call to the Bahraini government to engage in reform and dialogue. Relatedly, a court has adjourned the retrial of 21 activists (including hunger-striker Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja) for two weeks.
David Wearing says Formula One’s and the Bahraini government’s oft-used retort of saying there are worse human rights offenders in other countries is irrelevant, “unless the suggestion is that abuses short of the absolute worst kind should simply be ignored altogether.” Tom Malinowski writes of his recent visit to Bahrain, in which he was arrested by security forces. He says Bahrain is in a downward spiral and is “almost broken,” but remains hopeful. The protagonists on both sides know each other, and there still seems to be room for compromise,” he says, “But the window is rapidly closing, and once it shuts — as in Syria — it will be hard to turn back.” Nada al-Wadi details the struggle between the government and the opposition in portraying an accurate narrative of events in Bahrain. “for the most part there has been almost no coordination among activists and journalists on media strategies,” she says, “One thing is clear, however: the government has resoundingly lost the rights to the story.”