Bahraini Political Prisoner Nabeel Rajab Speaks Out
by Stephen Lendman
The US-supported despotic Bahraini regime repeatedly targeted Rajab and other human rights defenders for their redoubtable activism - murdering some, mass imprisoning others on trumped up charges no legitimate tribunal would uphold.
Rajab is unjustly detained under harsh conditions, facing longterm imprisonment on fabricated charges of spreading “false or malicious news, offending a foreign country (meaning Saudi Arabia for criticizing its genocidal war on Yemen), and offending a statutory body.”
He’s been confined in isolation for the past three months. Surprisingly he got New York Times op-ed space to express his views, writing from prison where he’s detained - “all because of my work as a human rights defender,” he explained, adding he’s not alone.
Around “4,000 political prisoners in Bahrain” languish in gulag hell, tortured and ill-treated “for daring to desire democracy,” said Rajab. Fellow redoubtable human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for daring to speak truth to power.
“No one has been properly held to account for systematic abuses” affecting everyone challenging regime authority, said Rajab. Tyranny works this way, Bahrain one of the region’s leading exponents, ruling brutally like neighboring Saudis.
Before his current detention, Rajab was warned he’d face longterm imprisonment if he “didn’t stop his advocacy work.” His commitment to human rights, equal justice and peace got him arrested and brutalized.
“I would like to ask (John) Kerry,” he said. “Is this the kind of ally America wants? The kind that punishes its people for thinking, that prevents its citizens for exercising their basic rights?”
Last spring, he signed an open letter, along with 25 other human rights activists, “calling on (Obama) to discuss human rights and the plight of activists in the Middle East when he visited Saudi Arabia earlier this year” - an issue Washington ignores in dealings with a rogue’s gallery of despotic regimes.
Imprisonment and brutal treatment took a toll on Rajab’s health - on September 1, activist Fadi al-Qadi tweeting: “Jail ate his health.”
After his op-ed letter appeared in The Times, the paper said he was charged with publishing “false news and statements and malicious rumors that undermine the prestige of the kingdom.”
Given his poor health and denial of medical treatment, he’ll likely perish in Bahraini gulag hell without foreign pressure from America and/or other Western nations to free him.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
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