UK MPs slam Bahrain human rights

January 14, 2022 - 17:48

British members of parliament have discussed the plight of political prisoners in Bahrain and the Kingdom’s human rights violations calling on the government to pressure Manama to release all dissidents being held behind bars.

Representatives from various political parties participated in a press conference, held in front of Bahrain’s embassy in London to brief reporters on the discussions held over the “grave violations of human rights in Bahrain” during a House of Commons debate earlier in Parliament.

In the Commons former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said “we’re here to speak for justice and human rights around the world, and today our focus is on Bahrain.  I hope they’re listening…”

Corbyn also spoke at the Press Conference outside the Bahraini embassy.

It comes ten years after the 2011 revolution for democracy in Bahrain was met with a heavy-handed crackdown.

One of the major issues raised at the press conference was that of political prisoner Hassan Mushaima and academic Abdul Jalil Al-Singace who has been on hunger strike for more than 190 days.

Other MPs highlighted the different aspects of human rights violations in Bahrain, including the suffering of political prisoners and opposition leaders, torture methods, unfair trials and death sentences.

Scottish National Party MP, Brendan O'Hara, says “while the United Kingdom sends more and more taxpayers cash to Bahrain, the oppression and detention of prisoners in Bahrain continues."

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael called on the government to slap sanctions on the Bahraini Minister of Interior, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa “for his role in overseeing appalling human rights violations and a culture of impunity”.

Human Rights Groups have repeatedly called for the release of dissidents detained in Bahrain. On the occasion of Bahrain's National Day, Human Rights Watch asked "did you know that Bahrain has one of the highest prison rates per capita in West Asia?"

The main opposition Labour Party MP Bambos Charalambous, who is also the shadow minister for West Asia says “this is clearly not a partisan, party political matter. It’s clear that standing up for human rights for political prisoners in Bahrain and beyond transcends party politics”

The lawmaker added "It's not a matter of right or left, but a matter of right or wrong. If we, as members of parliament, are not prepared to stand up for what is right on the eve of a free trade deal with Bahrain, then when will we be?"

According to a detailed joint communique in late December last year, Britain and some Persian Gulf Kingdoms, including Bahrain, have agreed to an “ambitious strategic partnership”

Meanwhile, protesters in Bahrain have staged demonstrations for the third day in a row to rally against a Saudi Arabian court's ruling to uphold the death sentence against two Bahraini teenagers.

The protesters have poured their anger on the streets of several villages inside the Persian Gulf Kingdom, holding up posters of the pair, who have been identified as Ja’afar al-Sultan and Sadiq al-Thamer.

In 2015, the victims were jailed by Saudi authorities and sentenced to death for allegedly planting explosives at a border crossing between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Both of the boys appealed the sentence pleading not guilty, but a Saudi court upheld the ruling recently. The verdict has been denounced as politically-motivated.

Rights groups says Saudi Arabia, which sent its military to Bahrain in 2011 to help crush the revolution, uses torture and other methods to extract false confessions. The trials of political dissidents have been branded as a sham where no family members and lawyers are allowed to attend or participate; making it easy for Riyadh to fabricate the verdict.

Bahrain has cracked down on any form of dissent including the jailing of dissidents including minors, revoking nationalities, and dissolving opposition parties while attacking protesters; measures that have triggered global outrage.

Leave a Comment

1 + 3 =