14 British MPs Call on their Gov't to Reconsider Relations with Bahrain, Urge Bahraini Authorities to Release Opposition Leaders

2021-03-19 - 7:35 م

Bahrain Mirror: 14 MPs in the UK Parliament sent an urgent letter to Britain's foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, urging him to pressure on the Bahraini government to release political prisoners.

A letter send by Zarah Sultana, British Labour Party politician, read "Further to my letter dated 15 February 2021, and ahead of the 10th anniversary of the arrest of political leaders and activists for their participation on pro-democracy protests, we, the undersigned, are writing to draw your attention once again to the ongoing suppression of democracy and political opposition in Bahrain."

"This letter marks the tenth anniversary of 17 march 2011, when seven prominent Bahraini opposition leaders and activists were sentenced to life imprisonment. Hasan Mushaima, Abdulwahab Hussein, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, Mohammad Habib Al-Miqdad, Sheikh Abduljalil Al-Miqdad, Saeed Mirza Al-Nuri and Sheikh Ali Slaman on charges of communicating with foreign countries and inciting murder and destruction of properties."

The undersigned MPs, including former opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, added "A decade later, Bahrain continues to suppress any and all political dissent. Nonetheless, the UK has continued to support the Bahraini regime."

The MPs demanded their government to disengage from blind support of those who abuse civil society for the mere expression of opinion, and help Bahrain to return to a stable and reformist state with a good human rights record.

The letter called for the immediate and unconditional release of Bahraini political prisoners. It also called for reconsidering relationship with Bahrain, as a country of concern, until the demands of the Bahraini people are adequately met.

Bahraini London-based activist Ali Mushaima wrote via his Twitter account on Thursday (March 18, 2021) "14 MPs including former opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, signed a letter to UK Government demanding the release of leading political prisoners in Bahrain, coinciding with the 10th year anniversary of their arrest."

The European Parliament adopted last week a resolution condemning human rights violation in Bahrain.

In the same context, a member of the Dáil Éireann, Seán Haughey TD, put forward a written question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, regarding the current situation of human rights and democracy in Bahrain and what Ireland is doing to address it.  

In his response to Deputy Haughey's question, Minister Simon Coveney stated that "respect for human rights is an integral part of Ireland's foreign policy" and that "the human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of serious concern". Furthermore, Minister Coveney noted that "although Bahrain has repeatedly stated its commitment to improving its human rights record and safeguarding human rights as enshrined in the Bahraini Constitution, we [Ireland] are concerned by ongoing instances of violations of fundamental freedoms, including violations of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the targeting of human rights defenders". 

Minister Coveney also noted that Ireland currently "engages on the issue of human rights in Bahrain through the European Union" and that at the EU-Bahrain Human Rights Dialogue, chaired by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore, "[a] number of issues of concern were raised with Bahrain at the forum, including rule of law, prison conditions, right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, freedom of association, death penalty, torture, and the impact of Covid-19 on the human rights situation".

He also stated that Ireland has raised concerns on the human rights situtaion in the UN Human Rights Council.

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