Furthermore his sentence of 3 months in prison for a tweet in which he criticised the Prime Minister is a clear reminder of the lack of freedom of speech and freedom of expression in Bahrain.
Most worrying was the use of masked, plain-clothed men who were sent to Rajab’s home to make the arrest, this morning. The men were only identifiable by their fluorescent vests and entered his home before dragging him away into an unmarked vehicle. A marked police car followed behind, with this all happening in front of his family, including his young children.
A video of the terrifying arrest:
There seems to be no logical explanation for the circumstance of his arrest, other than that this was an attempt to terrorise Rajab and his family along with all struggling for democracy in Bahrain.
It comes in the context of an “unannounced state of emergency” that has seen a major escalation in attacks on the opposition, with a level of confidence previously unseen for some months. It suggests, the authorities have been emboldened by a lack of widespread international action against Bahrain and that the regime hardliners are now in complete control.
Bahrain is completely ignoring the recommendations of the BICI and of member states at the United Nations UPR by continuing excessive force and mistreatment. We hoped that Bahrain would have reacted positively to those condemnations but instead they are acting completely in reverse. This tells us that a much stronger reaction is needed from the international community in order to stop the flagrant abuses of human rights.
The international community continues to stress the importance of dialogue but such a notion is far from reality at the moment. Instead of reconciliation there is repression. We understand this as an attempt to weaken the opposition before entering into a dialogue process. This proves that the authorities are doing there best to stack any dialogue firmly against the opposition and will treat such an exercise as PR rather than genuinely moving the country forwards.
It’s clear that Bahrain is acting in a inhumane manner because it believes it can. Until the international community speaks out in a clearer and stronger way, that will continue to be the case.