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Bahrain–UPDATE: Human rights defender Mr Naji Fateel released on bail
On 17 April Bahraini human rights defender Mr Naji Fateel left prison for his home having been released on bail.
The public prosecutor ordered his release on bail on 4 April but Naji Fateel refused to pay bail and opted to stay in prison in solidarity with his fellow human rights defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja who is on his 71st day of a hunger strike. Naji Fateel is a board member of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and attended the Front Line Defenders 2010 Dublin Platform.
On14 February 2012, Naji Fateel, was arrested by a group of masked men in plain-clothes as he was taking part in a peaceful demonstration to protest against human rights violations in Bahrain. He was subsequently interrogated and charged of illegal assembly and taking part in an unauthorised demonstration by Bahraini prosecution authorities.
On 21 March 2012, the Bahraini public prosecution brought new charges against him including “planning and executing an illegal assembly” and “rioting” in the area of Beni Jamra on 24 January 2012. The new charges seem to have been brought against him as a way of keeping him in detention for as long as possible so that he can not continue his human rights activities. According to information received by Front Line Defenders, Naji Fateel was ill-treated while held in detention, including being verbally abused for belonging to the Shi'a majority in the country and being denied access to food and other items brought to him in prison by his family. He was held in harsh conditions in the Dry Dock detention centre in an overcrowded cell, along with other prisoners held for serious criminal offences. The toilets are said to be in poor condition, there is no access to hot water and food and drinking water are reportedly of poor quality. This led to the deterioration of Naji Fateel's health as he has already been suffering from injuries sustained during previous detentions in Bahrain.
While Front Line Defenders welcomes the release on bail of Naji Fateel, it expresses grave concern over his arbitrary detention and the ill-treatment to which he was subjected while in detention. Front Line Defenders reiterates its calls on the authorities in Bahrain todrop all charges brought against Naji Fateel and to investigate allegations of ill-treatment while in detention. The Bahraini authorities must also guarantee in all circumstances that Naji Fateel and all other human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work without fear ofreprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.
For further information please see Front Line Defenders' urgent appeal dated 16 February 2012 (htt p://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/17869).
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Bahrain. HERE