Interview with Nabeel Rajab, moments before he was taken to prison on Monday
Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been arrested once again. This time, he is going to serve a three-month prison sentence for his messages on Twitter, found guilty of "insulting" the people of Muharraq village.
This is "reform".
This is a reform where a man is repeatedly detained and then convicted for 140 characters on social media but no one has been convicted of:
- The murder of dozens of protesters.
- The torture in prisons.
- The teargassing of residential areas where children have choked to death.
- The trial and imprisonment of doctors for treating injured protesters.
- The killing of Bahraini citizen journalists.
This is reform where Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, the former President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, remains in jail after his hunger strike of more than 100 days earlier this year, seeking the freedom of Bahraini dissidents. He was force-fed so his death would not embarrass the Government of Bahrain. The reform of continued imprisonment is not so embarrassing.
Reform is the battlecry of a regime that has so far done litte to fulfill the promise it made last year to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Even its staunch ally, the US Government, has released documents detailing Bahrain's crimes against its citizens.
Instead of arresting murderers and torturers, the Goverment has arrested human rights activists and the protesters demanding the release of those activists. The latest casualty of this "reform" is Nabeel Rajab, who will be held in prison for three months because he would not relent in his challenge to the regime.
Where can this "reform" take Bahrain next?