PSNI Denies Training Bahraini Officers: They Observed Events & Presentations
2017-02-08 - 11:22 p
Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: The Belfast Telegraph newspaper stated that the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd insisted that the Bahraini police were on a study visit to observe "best practice in human rights-based public order policing". He said the delegation observed public order events, followed by presentations on PSNI public order policing.
He added: "At no time did the PSNI undertake any form of training with the officers."
A Foreign Office spokesman said the trip was "supporting Bahraini-led reform through a package of technical assistance", commenting that "we believe it is not good enough to criticize countries from the sideline".
"The study visit in August 2015 allowed members of the Bahraini police to observe how the PSNI manages public order issues in a human rights compliant manner," the spokesman added.
The human rights organization Reprieve issued a highly critical statement, saying the PSNI hosted six Bahraini officers in August 2015, sharing its expertise on gathering intelligence ahead of parades.
Reprieve alleged the Bahraini delegation followed the PSNI's Crimson Commander in Belfast. It added that this was followed by training sessions in the use of water cannons, dog handling and public order tactics.
The trip was funded by the Foreign Office with support from the InvestNI body NI-CO (Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas).
Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said the UK Government initially "covered up" the project. "Bahrain is notorious for arresting, torturing and sentencing to death people involved in protests - such as Mohammed Ramadan, a father of three who is held on death row and faces execution at any moment," she commented.
"By training Bahrain's police how to gather intelligence on protesters, there is a serious risk that Britain is helping them arrest and execute people who are guilty of nothing more than calling for reform," she indicated.
She added "It is scandalous that the Government has sought to sweep this under the carpet."
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