The American Bear


Prominent Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab goes missing | Al Akhbar English

Prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has been removed from his cell to an unknown location, losing all contact with his family and lawyer, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported Wednesday.

In an appeal sent out by the human rights group, Rajab had reportedly witnessed prisoners at the central Jaw prison being tortured.

Rajab’s wife had received a phonecall from Rajab testifying on what he had witnessed in the prison. Shortly after, Rajab’s wife was told that her husband had been removed from his prison cell.

His lawyer, family and fellow activists have not been in contact with him since.

[…] On Wednesday, six Bahraini tweeters were sentenced to one year in jail each for insulting the King and “misusing the right of free expression.”

Torture in Bahraini prisons is very commonly used to force prisoners to sign confessions. In February of last year, leading political prisoners began refusing food after reporting systematic abuses in Bahrain’s jails, including beatings, torture and the use of tear gas.

Nabeel Rajab, who founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in 2002, has been in custody since June 6 on charges of “public insults against plaintiffs,” the prosecution said in a statement at the time of his rearrest in June 2012.

The avid Twitter user has been charged with insulting the security forces, posting comments on Twitter deemed insulting to a government body and organizing peaceful protests.

His activism has given him the largest Twitter following in Bahrain, and the fourth largest in the Arab world.

An appeal court in Bahrain has acquitted the activist Nabeel Rajab of insulting Bahrainis after he criticised the prime minister in a tweet, his lawyer said. But Rajab remains in jail over other convictions. Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was sentenced in July to three months in prison for suggesting via Twitter that residents of al-Muharraq district were paid to show support for Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the prime minister. ‘The judge ruled his innocence. Nabeel and representatives of many foreign embassies were present. I was able to meet him for a few minutes,’ his lawyer, Mohammed al-Jishi, told Reuters. The state news agency, BNA, said the appeal judge acquitted Rajab because he was not satisfied with the evidence. Bahrain court acquits Nabeel Rajab over ‘insulting’ tweet


A prominent human rights activist in Bahrain has been sentenced to three years in prison for taking part in protests against the U.S.-backed regime. Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was detained in June after criticizing the Bahraini government in Twitter messages and in media appearances, including one on Democracy Now! in May. During his comments, Rajab had criticized U.S. support for the ruling monarchy.

Nabeel Rajab: “We are very upset about United States’ position with Bahrain. We are very upset about United States trying to hide the crimes and trying to hide the violation happening in all the Gulf country. Because the Gulf country are a rich region, because it’s a big arm market, because it’s a big oil exporter, we have to suffer for that. We are victims for being a rich region. We are a victim of being a region that have an interest with the United States. Unfortunately, the United States — and the West, as well, comes after United States — have ignored completely the crime what’s happening here.”

Bahraini Activist Nabeel Rajab Sentenced to 3 Years for Protesting U.S.-Backed Regime (via kaliem)

(via jayaprada)

Bahraini rights leader convicted over tweets (Again) | Al Akhbar

A leading Bahraini human rights activist was sentenced to three months in jail on Monday for tweets deemed offensive to the country’s autocratic rulers.

Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights (BCHR), was rearrested on Monday afternoon.

He wrote on Twitter that Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa should step down, as well as saying the people of the pro-regime town Muharraq residents had only welcomed him during a visit because he had offered them subsidies.

He was later charged with questioning the patriotism of the residents of the town. [++]

Bahrain re-arrests rights activist | NOW Lebanon

Bahrain re-arrested leading Shiite rights activist Nabil Rajab on Wednesday pending a probe into posts on the social networking website Twitter deemed insulting to Sunnis, prosecutors said, nine days after he had been freed.

Rajab was “taken into custody pending investigation after he was accused of public insults against plaintiffs” from the predominantly Sunni province of Muharaq, it said in a statement.

The prosecution said it had received complaints that Rajab “talked on social networks about the people of Muharaq in a way that questioned their patriotism and insulted them.”

Last year, a significant part of the Sunni community rallied around the government as Shia led protests against the regime of the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa family.

Rajab was released on bail last week after he was arrested on May 5, but he remained on trial in three cases, including one for posting comments on Twitter deemed insulting to a government body and two others for protests.

The rights activist was summoned to court on Wednesday to face a new charge of staging illegal protests against Bahrain’s ruling family, lawyers said.

He also received a notice to report to the public prosecution for questioning over the “public insults,” according to documents he posted on social networking websites.

Rajab told the court hours before being sent back behind bars that all charges against him were “vindictive accusations.”

“I was targeted because I was exercising my right to defend human rights, which is a right that is stipulated by the Bahraini constitution,” he said.

Better News from Bahrain Over the Last Few Days

AFP: Bahrain activist Khawaja to end 110-day hunger strike

Opposition activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, facing a life sentence on charges of seeking to overthrow Bahrain’s Sunni rulers, announced Monday ending a 110-day hunger strike, as another rights campaigner is released on bail.

Khawaja “will end his hunger strike this (Monday) evening,” his lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi said. […]

In a statement posted by the lawyer on his Twitter page, Khawaja told his family he was ending his strike on Monday evening “despite failure to achieve the direct demand which is to be set free.”

But he would stop his fast “following the success of his supporters… in shedding light on the issue of detainees in Bahrain prisons… and taking in consideration the forced feeding imposed on him by authorities since April 23.”

Khawaja said he has “agreed to undergo a medical programme to return to a normal diet.”

AFP: Bahrain rights activist Rajab released on bail

Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, facing three separate trials on charges including taking part in an illegal gathering and writing tweets deemed insulting to the government, was granted bail on Monday, his lawyer said.

“He has just been released on bail,” Mohammed al-Jishi told AFP by telephone from Manama.

He said Rajab, who heads the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was ordered to pay 300 dinars ($796) but still faces a travel ban. The hearing in the case over illegal rallies was adjourned until June 17.

Rajab was granted bail last week in the trial of posting tweets deemed insulting to security forces, over which he was arrested on May 5 upon arrival from a trip abroad.

Bahraini activist AngryArabiya to be released

Jailed Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khawaja is due to be released today after a month in jail, her sister has confirmed.

Zainab, known for her writing under the Twitter pseudonym AngryArabiya, was arrested last month and charged with a number of offenses, including assaulting a police officer.

She denied the charges, which she said were politically motivated, and refused to accept the legitimacy of the country’s courts.

Her sister Maryam, herself a human rights activist, said they had been told she would be released but was still awaiting news.

“She is supposed to be (released), her husband went to pay the bail and then go and receive her. But I have received no confirmation yet,” she said. […]

But Maryam warned that the charges against her were not being dropped, a technique she said the Bahraini government used to control dissent.


Assange’s The World Tomorrow Episode 4: Overthrowing dictators 101

In the fourth episode of The World Tomorrow Julian Assange speaks with two leading Arab revolutionaries in the middle of conflict, Alaa Abd El-Fattah from Egypt and Nabeel Rajab from Bahrain. Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a long time Egyptian blogger, programmer and political activist. His parents were human rights campaigners under Anwar Sadat; his sister Mona Seif became a Twitter star during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and is a founder of the No Military Trials for Civilians group formed under the post-Mubarak military junta. El-Fattah was imprisoned for 45 days in 2006 for protesting under the Mubarak regime, and released after “Free Alaa” solidarity protests in Egypt and around the world. In 2011, from abroad, El-Fattah helped route around Mubarak’s internet blockade.

Nabeel Rajab is a lifelong Bahraini activist and critic of the Al Khalifa regime. A member of a staunch pro-regime family, Rajab has agitated for reform in Bahrain since his return from university in 1988. Along with the Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, he helped establish the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002. Rajab is reasonably new to the limelight — becoming a face for the Bahrain uprising of February 14 2011, after the sit-in at Pearl Roundabout. Since then, he has been a public face for the revolution, waging a social media war on Twitter with PR companies working for the regime. After al-Khawaja was imprisoned, he led protests for his release. He has endured beatings, arrests and legal harrassment for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday 5th of May, he was arrested at Manama airport , and charged the next day with encouraging and engaging in “illegal protests.” Nabeel Rajab remains in detention at the time of broadcast.

Bahrain arrests prominent rights activist |

A prominent human rights activist has been arrested by Bahraini authorities, a statement said Saturday, in a move that could further escalate the nearly 15-month-old unrest between opposition groups and the rulers of the Gulf kingdom.

A statement from Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said public prosecutors ordered the arrest of Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. The group has been active in calling attention to alleged abuses by Bahraini security forces and crackdowns such as widespread arrests and workplace purges. Rajab also was affiliated with international groups such as Human Rights Watch.

The statement gave no other immediate details. Rajab had been previously detained by Bahraini forces last year during the beginning of the Shiite-led uprising in the strategic kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.