UN calls on Bahrain to release prominent human rights activist

The United Nations Committee against Torture has called on the Bahraini regime to release the country’s prominent human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner Nabeel Rajab, and open an investigation into widespread reports of ill-treatment and torture of detainees.

The UN panel, composed of 10 independent experts, asked Bahraini officials on Friday to “put an end to the solitary confinement” of the 52-year-old activist, who chairs the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and “ensure that he is provided with adequate medical assistance and redress”.

His solitary confinement “is reported to have exceeded nine months during which he has been denied adequate medical care,” the UN experts pointed out.

On December 22, 2016, Bahraini authorities accused Rajab of making comments that “harm the interests” of the Manama regime and other Persian Gulf kingdoms through an article attributed to him and published by French daily Le Monde.

The article slammed the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group for their crimes against humanity and Persian Gulf Arab countries for their failure to stop the spread of the violent Wahhabi ideology.

Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by its clerics, fuels the ideological engine of such terror organizations as Daesh and Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front. Takfiri terrorists use the ideology to declare people of other faiths “infidels,” justifying the killing of their victims.

Rajab, who was detained on June 13 last year for tweets that criticized Manama’s role in the deadly Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen, could face up to 15 years in jail. Liz Throssell, the spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement that Rajab was arrested for “exercising his right to freedom of expression.

The UN panel also on Friday cited “continued, numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in all places of detention” in Bahrain.

They also expressed concern at reports of coerced confessions obtained under torture, including those of three anti-regime Shia activists Sami Mushaima, Abbas Jamil Tahir al-Sami’ and Ali Abdulshahid al-Singace who were executed in mid-January, and two men, identified as Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa, who are facing death penalty.

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