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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Nabeel Rajab


Detained Since: June 13, 2016.

Charges: Spreading false rumors in time of war, insulting public authorities, and insulting a foreign country.

Sentence: Two years for disseminating false news and undermining the prestige of the kingdom (July 10, 2017). Additional five years for offending Saudi Arabia and insulting the Bahraini interior minister (February 21, 2018).

Biography: Nabeel Rajab is a prominent Bahraini human rights activist who is the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights who has been repeatedly arrested and convicted for exercising the basic human rights to freedom of expression and assembly. On August 6, 2012 Rajab was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “illegal gathering” and “disturbing public order” for calling for and taking part in three demonstrations in Manama without prior notification between January and March 2012. During a protest, he was assaulted by riot police who punched him several times in the face, head and back.  He said: “I fell on the ground but they continued to beat me – they even stomped on me and kicked me.” 

On May 24, 2014, after serving two years in prison, Rajab was released, only to be detained again on October 1, 2014 for a tweet that was said to have offended the Ministry of Interior. He was released on bail on November 7, 2014. On January 2015, Rajab was sentenced to six months in prison on charges of insulting a public institution and the army. He remained free but subject to a travel ban while the conviction was appealed. But on April 2, 2015, he was re-arrested at his home, and a month later his conviction was upheld. Rajab remained in jail until July 10, 2015, when the king of Bahrain issued a special pardon for health reasons and he was freed.

Slightly less than year later, on June 13, 2016, Nabeel Rajab was re-arrested without a warrant and has been continually detained since. He has been subjected to solitary confinement and degrading treatment, and suffers from poor health that has required prolonged hospitalizations. On July 10, 2017 Rajab was sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Lower Criminal Court in Bahrain for "disseminating false news, statements and rumours about the internal situation of the Kingdom that would undermine its prestige and status" related to media interviews he gave in 2015 and 2016. The sentence was upheld in January 2018. A month later he was sentenced to an additional five years.

Nabeel Rajab was RELEASED from Jau Prison on June 9, 2020, but must continue to serve his unjust sentence in a non-custodial setting.

Advocate: Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA)