Rights defenders jailed in Bahrain and UAE should be released unconditionally, UN urges

UN News/Vibhu Mishra Manama, the capital of Bahrain. (file)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has called for the immediate release of a prominent human rights defender in Bahrain, after the country’s highest court rejected a final appeal for his release on Monday. Nabeel Rajab was jailed in 2016 for tweeting criticism of Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes on Yemen and allegations of torture inside one of Bahrain’s prisons.

“We urge the Government of Bahrain to stop criminalizing dissenting voices,” the statement read. Mr. Rajab’s comments online were made in 2015, when Saudi Arabia formed a coalition siding with the pro-Government fight in Yemen against Houthi rebels.

One tweet read, “we have the right to say no to the war in #Yemen and should struggle for peace and security but not bloodshed #Sanaa.” He also criticized conditions inside Bahrain’s Jau Prison, which are notoriously poor.

Rajab was convicted on charges of “spreading false news and rumors in time of war”, “insulting foreign countries” and “insulting publicly the interior ministry”.

OHCHR Spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, briefing reporters at the UN in Geneva, urged the Government of Bahrain “to ensure that all Bahrainis are able to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression without fear of arbitrary detention.” The UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention last year declared Rajab’s detention to be arbitrary.

Monday’s court decision brings into focus the tight lid on Government critics in Bahrain, the Spokesperson said, evidenced by targeted arrests, detention, travel bans, harassment, threats, revocation of citizenship and other means.

Several cases of civil society activists and their families suffering retaliation in Bahrain for seeking to engage with UN human rights officials are highlighted in the Secretary-General’s latest annual report on reprisals, and in some cases, activists have been accused of terrorism-related offences.

Prosecution for exercising fundamental human rights violates Bahrain’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which includes freedom of expression under the human rights umbrella, said OHCHR.

United Arab Emirates also urged to release defender jailed for tweeting

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor faces a 10-year sentence on similar charges – social media posts deemed insulting to the Government.

The Court of State Security, the highest in the country, upheld the rights defender’s sentence on 31 December, and issued a one-million dirham fine; roughly $272,000.

In May 2018, Mr. Mansoor was jailed along with four others, following the comments, accused of using social media to “publish false information” that harms “national unity” and damages “the country’s reputation.”

Ms. Shamdasani said the conviction was another case of “harsh sentencing” for Mr. Mansoor, related to “his exercise of the right to freedom of expression and opinion.”

“We urge the Government of the UAE to promptly and unconditionally release Mansoor and to ensure that individuals are not penalized for expressing views critical of the Government or its allies,” she said in a briefing statement to reporters.

The number of reprisals against those who cooperate with the United Nations and work to uphold human rights highlighted in the UN Chief’s annual report, exposes a “shameful” level of retaliation suffered in 38 countries, some of which are members of the Human Rights Council.

Acts of retaliation, including allegations of killing, torture, and public stigmatization campaigns, the report shows, inhibit the work of the UN and its partner organizations.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Youth and Decent Work: A Review of Today’s Facts, Challenges and Possible Solutions

Britain in and out of the EU

Agreement on EU instrument supporting border management and common visa policy

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

9 climate tipping points pushing Earth to the point of no return

Altruism can be good for business, as these companies show

Parliament mobilised to channel EU funds to those affected by Coronavirus pandemic

More answers from Facebook ahead of Parliament hearing today

Close to final agreement on the EU Banking Union

EFSF/ESM boss tells half truths about Troika’s doings

UN highlights profound implication of population trends on sustainable development

Australia urged to evacuate offshore detainees amid widespread, acute mental distress

3 ways blockchain can revolutionize global supply chains

Keep Africa’s guns ‘from firing in the first place’, UN political chief urges

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

The representatives of the regions and the cities know better what the EU needs on migration, trade, poverty and taxation

UN rights experts ‘gravely’ concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown

Innovations for Content Professionals at the DCX exhibition 2018 in Berlin, in association with The European Sting

EU migrant crisis: Germany, France and UK to show the way. Will the rest of the EU follow?

One billion people have preventable eye conditions, increasingly linked to lifestyle choices: UN health agency

‘New tech’ business model threatens decent work conditions, warns UN

Defence: European Commission paves the way for first joint industrial projects under EU budget

7 key challenges for the future of ASEAN – and how to solve them

Localized microfactories – the new face of globalized manufacturing

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

Manufacturers Get Smarter for Industry 4.0

Tackling obesity would boost economic and social well-being

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

Is a 3-day split week the way to get people back to work?

The metamorphosis of the categorical imperative in medical students

Member States’ compliance with EU law in 2019: more work needed

The Future of Balkans: Embracing Education

It’s time for global businesses to accept local responsibility

This is how travel hotspots are fighting back against overtourism

Strong EU trade enforcement rules enter into force

Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

Connect 4 Impact – a virtual journey around the globe WSA Global Congress 2021 – March 22-24

What if nature became a legal person?

COVID-19: MEPs free up over €3 billion to support EU healthcare sector

Black historical figures who shook the world, from a warrior queen to a Mexican president

High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

Services are the hidden side of the US-China trade war

Antimicrobial resistance: how can an intersectoral approach between society and healthcare professionals be developed and applied?

How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic

Protecting refugees in Europe: UNHCR calls for a ‘year of change’

The use of mobile technologies in Radiation Oncology: helping medical care

Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations

We need to talk: UN gears up for 75th anniversary with Global Conversations

Climate change will be sudden and cataclysmic. We need to act fast

Companies that put employees first perform better

How Japan and Singapore are reinventing old age

EU Commission says falling labour remuneration leads to deflation and damages growth prospects

President von der Leyen’s State of the Union Address: charting the course out of the coronavirus crisis and into the future

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals

A climate scientist explains what the melting Arctic means for the world

UN programme to help spare millions from child marriage, extended to 2023

How global tech companies can champion ethical AI

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s