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“Thank you all for what you did for me,” Naser al Raas tells Amnesty members

    June 08, 2012

    On May 3, Naser al Raas dropped by Amnesty International’s office in Ottawa to meet with Amnesty members, volunteers and staff and thank them for their support.

    Naser is the young Canadian who was detained in Bahrain in March 2011 during a visit to family members.

    Over the following year, he spent two periods in jail, was tortured and was sentenced in October 2011 to five years in prison for participating in peaceful protests. Amnesty members stood alongside him throughout his ordeal.

    “Thank you all for what you did for me,” Naser told Amnesty members. “I didn’t know you in person, but I knew you were fighting my case. You gave me your time and effort. I wasn’t afraid because I knew you were fighting for me, looking after me all the way from Canada. Even when I was sleeping, I felt safe.”

    “The first time in prison was 31 days that changed my life,” he said. “I was tortured, beaten and kicked. They finally released me because of my health."

    "The second time in prison, I was not tortured—I believe it was because Amnesty members were supporting me. It was because of Amnesty members that I was released. Because of your work.”

    Finally, in February 2012, came the long-overdue announcement that he was free. Soon after his release, Naser married his fiancée Zainab. He returned to Canada on May 1 with a yearning for justice and a desire to campaign to hold accountable those who had abused his human rights and the rights of countless others in Bahrain.