(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A statement issued on behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (July 14, 2017) in Geneva, said that his office is "deeply concerned that Nabeel Rajab, a co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was sentenced on 10 July to two years in prison simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion.
"We understand that he faces a further trial on separate charges also related to his exercise of his right to freedom of expression."
"We have raised our concerns with the Government of Bahrain on several occasions about the arrest and subsequent detention of Mr. Rajab, who was found guilty and sentenced for "publishing and disseminating false news, statements and rumors about the internal situation of the kingdom that would undermine its prestige and status," it added.
The OHCHR also indicated in its statement, "Human rights defenders in Bahrain must be able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals, and should not face detention or prosecution for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Criticizing the Government should not be a crime.
Moreover, the statement noted that Mr. Rajab has been detention since June 2016, adding, "We call on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him."
"The continuing restrictions on civil society and political activists and the targeting of human rights defenders and organizations in Bahrain are deeply worrying. We urge the Government to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with Bahrain's obligations under international human rights law, in particular to guarantee the freedoms of expression, opinion and association and the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of liberty," the statement went on to say.