Norway calls for release of human rights defender in Bahrain

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

‘The human rights situation in Bahrain has deteriorated steadily since the start of the Arab Spring in 2011. The Norwegian authorities call for the release of the Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab,’ said State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bård Glad Pedersen.

Mr Rajab, who met the political leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September 2014, has been imprisoned several times following accusations of having publicly insulted the Bahraini authorities on social media and having participated in and encouraged unauthorised demonstrations. Following a visit to Europe to draw attention to the human rights situation in Bahrain, Mr Rajab returned to Bahrain on 1 October 2014. He was summoned for interrogation just a day after his return, accused of having insulted a public institution on social media. On 20 January, Mr Rajab was sentenced to six months in prison for his ‘crime’. The sentence has been appealed, and the appeal is due to be heard by the court on 11 February.

‘The sentence against Nabeel Rajab is another example of how difficult the situation is for human rights defenders in Bahrain. A large number of human rights activists have been imprisoned with extremely harsh sentences. Norway calls for Nabeel Rajab to be released as quickly as possible,’ said Mr Pedersen.