Sentencing of Nabeel Rajab
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
The Government of Bahrain has committed to respect freedom of expression and assembly and we look to it to fulfill these commitments. We are deeply concerned that a Bahraini court sentenced Nabeel Rajab to three years in prison on charges of leading “illegal gatherings.” We expect that the verdict and sentence will be reconsidered in the appeals process without delay. We urge the government of Bahrain to consider all available options to resolve this case. We believe that all people have a fundamental right to participate in peaceful acts of protest. We have repeatedly urged the government of Bahrain to take steps to build confidence across Bahraini society, and to begin a meaningful dialogue with the political opposition and civil society. Excessive punishment for peaceful expression – in this case and others – will not contribute to those efforts and only serves to divide Bahraini society further.