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Cardin Statement on Prison Sentencing of Bahraini Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Monday after Nabeel Rajab, a human rights activist in Bahrain, was sentenced to two years in prison:

“The sentencing of Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to two years in prison is deeply troubling.  His health has seriously deteriorated while in Bahraini government custody, and I am concerned that he is not receiving appropriate medical attention and care.  I have closely following Mr. Rajab’s case, and firmly believe that he should never have been imprisoned or placed on trial in the first place.   The criminal charges against him should have been dropped.

“I have shared my concerns repeatedly with the most senior levels of the State and Defense Departments regarding the troubling lack of commitment by Bahraini authorities to the rule of law, due process, human rights, and protection of universal freedoms such as freedom of speech and assembly.  The sentencing of Mr. Rajab demonstrates a serious step backwards, and undermines my confidence in the Bahraini government’s commitment to reform.

“I continue to take Mr. Rajab’s case, and other areas of concern that have been specifically raised by the State Department and Members of Congress, into consideration.”