British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing criticism from politicians and human rights organizations over his meeting yesterday with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Guardian and The Independent newspapers said.
And the Guardian explained in a report that criticism of Johnson says that he puts trade before torture, and it is likely that his government will face intense parliamentary scrutiny of any commercial deals with Gulf countries because of its human rights records. Read also With the participation of the Vice-President of the European Parliament.. a virtual seminar on the issue of political prisoners in Bahrain A Spanish parliamentarian questions her government about the “systematic” human rights violations in Bahrain Members of Congress demand the release of prisoners in Bahrain UN and European calls for Bahrain to be held accountable after the suppression of a peaceful sit-in in Jau Prison
She added that the State Department and Johnson’s office had not announced the meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain in advance, with one official speaking about security concerns.
The newspaper quoted Liberal Democratic Party leader Lord Paul Scriven as saying that he was appalled, but he was not surprised to receive Johnson, the crown prince of Bahrain, adding that even the official press statement did not mention human rights violations.
In a sign of pressure to come, the Guardian explained that the director of Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) Syed Ahmed Alwadaei said, “If Britain really seeks a free trade deal with a regime that holds political prisoners hostage, tortures children, and throws even moderate critics in prison; it is necessary Human rights issues are at the heart of any future business relationship with him.”
The newspaper also quoted the “Reprieve” group (an anti-death penalty campaign) as referring to the cases of Mohamed Ramadan and Hussein Musa, who have been facing execution since 2017, because of what they “confessed” under torture. https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.467.0_en.html#goog_539430449
Bahrain human rights record
In a joint report coinciding with the visit, Reprieve and Bird said, “Between 2011 and 2020, Bahrain sentenced at least 51 people to death. Between 2001 and 2010, the decade preceding the Arab Spring, the number of those executed reached 7,” adding that Bahrain’s record for every Individual population was not much better than Iran’s record.
The Independent In a report, also quoted Jad Bassiouni of Reprieve as saying that Johnson, by receiving the Crown Prince of Bahrain, is fueling repression, at a time when Bahrain uses torture to suppress political opponents, adding that the British government has always said that it is proud of its relationship with Bahrain, yet it receives the Crown Prince. Bahrain from the back doors and without announcing the visit.
Bassiouni said that the British government knows that the Bahraini authorities systematically use torture and death sentences to suppress dissent, yet it provides generous support to the same institutions that carry out these violations, adding that this support is inconsistent with British values, and the British authorities should withdraw it until the Bahrain government stops using Torture during interrogation to carry out death sentences against political prisoners.
A statement from the British Prime Minister’s office after the meeting said the two sides agreed to “further enhance our economic, security and diplomatic cooperation”.
The Guardian indicated that Britain is looking forward to concluding a new trade deal with the Gulf states.
The GCC is already among the UK’s largest trading partners, with bilateral trade reaching nearly £45 billion in 2019.
Bahrain had been pressing for free trade talks to start before the review was completed, but Britain wanted to wait for the obstacles to be addressed by both sides before starting the talks.