Nabeel Rajab is a prominent leader of Bahrain’s human rights movement. Mr. Rajab has been repeatedly targeted and arrested by the Bahraini authorities for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
On May 5, 2012, Mr. Rajab was arrested the day before a scheduled court hearing relating to a rally he attended in March 2012.
On May 6, 2012, Mr. Rajab was charged with “insulting a statutory body” via Twitter, when he suggested the ministry did not carry out “proper investigations into civilian deaths. He pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. He then stated to the court that the charges against him were, “malicious.” The prosecutor decided to keep him in detention for an additional 7 days.
On May 12, 2012, the public prosecution extended Mr. Rajab’s detention by yet another week.
On May16, 2012, fifty-five lawyers were present in court in solidarity with Mr. Rajab who pleaded not guilty.
On May 20, 2012, despite being granted bail, Mr. Rajab was kept in detention on a “charge” of “organizing illegal protests”.
On May 28, 2012, after 24 days in detention, Mr. Rajab was released on bail and placed on a travel ban.
On June 6, 2012, Mr. Rajab was re-arrested on the trumped up charge of “publicly insulting residents of a Sunni-dominated neighborhood for their ties to the ruling dynasty.” He was released on bail on June 27, 2012.
On July 9, 2012 Mr. Rajab was arrested again few hours after a court sentenced him to three-month prison for a Tweet in which he criticized the Prime Minister that the court found had “insulted Bahrainis.”
On August 23, 2012 he was acquitted of the charges, but remained in custody on another sentence.
On August 16, 2012, Mr. Rajab was sentenced to five years in prison or one year for each of the following charges: “involvement in illegal practices,” “calling for unauthorized marches through social networking sites,” “inciting gatherings”, “participation in an illegal assembly”, and “calling for a march without prior notification.”
On August 23, 2012, Mr. Rajab was acquitted of the Twitter charge in which he criticized the prime minister.
On September 10, 2012, an appeal for the five year sentence was scheduled.
The Global Importune letter signing group began sending letters of concern on behalf of to officials in the government of Bahrain sometime around October 2013.
On May 24, 2014, Rajab was released from prison after serving 2 years of a sentenced that was reduced from five years, but the government restricted his travel.
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