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For Immediate Release

PHR Condemns Appeals Court Decision to Keep Bahraini Activist in Prison

Cambridge, MA - 12/12/2012

Physicians for Human Rights denounces yesterday’s decision by a Bahrain appeals court to uphold the prison sentence of a prominent human rights activist involved in organizing protests against the regime.

The court dropped one of three charges against Nabeel Rajab, a founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and reduced his sentence from three years to two. But Rajab’s activities do not warrant any prison time, PHR contends, joining many international organizations in calling for his release.

“By persisting in the practice of imprisoning citizens simply for exercising their right to gather peacefully and express their opinions, the Bahraini regime is once again demonstrating the hollowness of last year’s promised reforms,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of PHR. “PHR calls on the government to release Rajab immediately and drop all charges against him, and to review all of its judicial actions in the light of international human rights law.”

A year ago, the Bahraini government pledged to implement recommendations contained in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, established by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to examine allegations of human rights abuses in the crackdown that followed the Arab Spring protests of early 2011. The report’s chief author, M. Cherif Bassiouni, has been critical of the government’s uneven progress in implementing reforms, saying recently that the situation in Bahrain in some ways is worse today than it was a year ago when the report was published.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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