The EU should use its ministerial meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council, due to take place on 30 June 2013, to call for the release of those “currently detained and imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights” according to a new joint statement issued by six human rights organisations including Front Line Defenders.

Published on 26 June 2013, the statement highlights the continued systematic crackdown by the authorities in Bahrain on human rights defenders and peaceful opposition activists and deplores the failure of the EU to make “explicit calls for the immediate and and unconditional release of human rights defenders, Twitter activists and bloggers and leaders of peaceful protests”.

The statement makes specific reference to the cases of imprisoned human rights defenders Mr Naji Fateel, Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja, Mr Nabeel Rajab, and former Front Line Defenders protection coordinator Mr Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

Just yesterday on 25 June 2013, human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja was sentenced to two additional months in jail in relation to charges of assault against two policewomen inside the prison, in a incident where she had tried to defend a fellow prisoner from the actions of the police officers.

The full joint letter, including the list of signatories can be found on http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/files/eu-gcc-jointstatement_final.pdf.

Further information on the current situation in Bahrain can be found on our dedicated site www.bahrainhrd.org.