Human Rights Are Not for Sale: Why the UK Must Stop Arming Bahrain

Huff post: This Sunday will see the trial of Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights who is facing up to three years imprisonment for insulting ‘a public office’ on Twitter. This might sound exceptional, but it is only the latest terrible example of the crackdown on human rights that is being waged by the Bahraini authorities. Rajab’s arrest comes only five months after he was released from a two year imprisonment for his participation in demonstrations.

The last few weeks have also seen the detention of human rights activist Zainab Al-Khawaja for ripping up a photo of the King and campaigner Maryam Al-Khawaja, who was detained last month on political charges while visiting her father in prison. Unfortunately these high profile detentions are part of a much bigger picture that has also seen attacks on and detentions of journalistsartists and opposition parties.

Last month 50 detainees held a 30 day hunger strike in opposition to government torture. A statement released by the prisoners accused the authorities of a number of serious abuses; including beatings, insults, torture, solitary confinement, and forcing them to stand for long hours.

The situation has been intensifying for some time. Earlier this year the King reinforced his authority by introducing a new law that imposes prison sentences of up to seven years on anyone who publicly insults him.

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