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PRISON guards from a brutal Middle Eastern dictatorship visited Britain for training shortly before Easter, it has emerged.
Their visit was reported in Bahraini newspaper Akhbar Al Khaleej, which supports the regime.
The delegation was led by Brigadier General Abdul Salam al-Araifi, a senior figure in Bahrain’s prison system, it said.
The small Gulf island has the one of the largest proportions of people behind bars in the Middle East.
Many of them are political prisoners jailed for opposing the country’s king Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa.
The newspaper report said the visit was designed “to exchange experiences” and “discuss various aspects of co-operation in developing the work of correctional institutions.”
The visit has alarmed a Bahraini exile in Britain.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said it was “appalling.”
Bird is especially concerned that senior officials from Jau prison could have been part of the delegation.
“Multiple reports have highlighted mistreatment and torture in Jau Prison and there are countless recorded cases of authorities denying inmates adequate medical care,” Mr Alwadaei said.
It is not known which prisons in Britain the Bahrainis visited.
The Scottish and Northern Irish prison services told the Morning Star no-one from Bahrain had visited in April.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it received international visitors “all the time” and did not keep a central log of visits.
However the MoJ said it was not involved in arranging this particular visit, and directed the Star to the Foreign Office – which then did not respond to requests for comment.
Bird said: “It is highly ironic that Bahrain has shown a greater openness about British involvement than the [British] government.
“Parliamentarians must not allow this scandal to pass without asking serious questions.”
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