Statement by U.S. Representative James P. McGovern on the Release of Nabeel Rajab
May 25, 2014
"I welcome the news that Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was released from prison today, after serving a two-year sentence for participating in public protests.
I hope that the government of Bahrain will ensure that Mr. Rajab can travel freely and safely, both within the country and internationally, and that he will be allowed to continue his peaceful human rights work unimpeded.
It is essential that civil society organizations are allowed to thrive in Bahrain and that the government of Bahrain heeds their voices. Leaders like Nabeel, call for peaceful actions and peaceful changes that would serve to protect the rights of all people in Bahrain and ensure stability within the country. By silencing these calls, the government of Bahrain opens the door to further violence and upheaval. Today, as I welcome Nabeel to liberty, I urge the government of Bahrain to release other members of the peaceful opposition and to involve them in a peaceful and constructive dialogue. Additionally, I urge my own government to call on our ally, Bahrain, to cease silencing peaceful opposition by jailing its leaders. If we fail to promote a fair and peaceful dialogue today, we will be looking at an inevitable surge of violence tomorrow.”
Nabeel Rajab is a human rights and political activist in Bahrain. He is the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights. Until today, he was serving a two-year prison sentence solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly by participating in protests against the government. Rep. McGovern had adopted Mr. Rajab as a prisoner of conscience in the the Defending Freedoms Project of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, which Rep. McGovern Co-Chairs in the U.S. House of Representatives.