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During Crown Prince's Visit to London, British Lawmakers Express "Grave Concern" about Political Repression in Bahrain

2023-06-20 - 10:14 am

Bahrain Mirror: British lawmakers have expressed their "grave concern" about political repression and ongoing repression of political prisoners in Bahrain during the visit of Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to London. They also demanded the UK government to make human rights file a priority in its relation with Bahrain.

In a letter sent to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the politicians questioned the UK government's allocation of £13 million ($16.6m) to Bahrain over the past decade despite a decline in human rights and democratic standards in the kingdom.

They singled out two UK-funded institutions - the Bahraini Ministry of the Interior's Ombudsman and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) within the Public Prosecutors Office - that they said are associated with "clear human rights abuses".

They mentioned that the UN has raised concerns about their independence and effectiveness. "The government must seek concrete evidence from the Crown Prince that the flaws within these bodies have been rectified," the lawmakers wrote.

They also raised concerns that systematic torture persists in the kingdom and that 26 death row inmates face imminent execution despite international calls for their release.

Among a list of requests, they called for future funding of Bahrain's Ministry of Interior to be conditional on the release of political prisoners named in the letter and that human rights be central to ongoing free trade agreement negotiations between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the UK.

Lord Scriven, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf and one of the letter's signatories, said: "The UK government should not be rewarding Bahrain with a trade deal that is silent on human rights and ethical trade whilst also using taxpayers money to fund training to some Bahraini institutions implicated in torture and human rights abuses."

The letter highlighted several political prisoners currently held in Bahraini jails, including Hassan Mushaima, 75, who is serving a life sentence for leading anti-government protests in 2011.

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