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Alyn Smith MEP welcomes release of Bahraini human rights defender

Scottish Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament MEP Alyn Smith congratulated the King of Bahrain in a letter today, commending his decision to release a leading human rights defender from prison who had been sentenced to 6 months in prison for a tweet criticizing the Bahraini authorities.

SNP Member Alyn Smith, who was in charge of his group's resolution on Bahrain at the European Parliament last week, expressed relief after the Bahraini authorities responded positively to the MEPs' nearly-unanimous call to uphold the freedom of expression in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Alyn said:

"I welcome the King of Bahrain's decision to release human rights defender Nabeel Rajab from prison and I have sent a letter in this regard. When such positive steps are taken by Bahrain's leadership we can only welcome them and call for more progress to be made.

"The human rights situation in Bahrain remains very critical in general and for the freedom of expression specifically. I have called on the King to ensure Mr. Rajab's ongoing investigation - regarding another tweet - is given due process of the law according to international standards. He still risks 10 years in prison for criticizing Bahrain's foreign policy.

"I have called on the King to release all the remaining political prisoners in Bahrain. Reforms need to be genuine, and if my voice can help I will continue to raise the matter. As I said, there has been progress in Bahrain compared to the rest of the region. But where we see some progress being made, it is very important that we recognise all the current shortcomings and address them".

For more information, you may watch Alyn's speech on Bahrain in the European Parliament below or on his YouTube channel.

Alyn was in charge of his group's (The Greens/EFA) urgency resolution on "Bahrain, in particular the case of Nabeel Rajab". The resolution adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday July 9 is here.

At an overwhelming majority of 65 to 2, the European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Bahrain last Thursday, calling on Bahraini authorities to release the human rights defender Nabeel Rajab as well as all other prisoners of conscience.

You may also read the King of Bahrain's official pardon of Nabeel Rajab, officially for health reasons, on Bahrain's state-news agency.