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British links to Bahrain under pressure after four deaths and embassy arrest

BRITAIN’S links to the Bahraini dictatorship are back in the spotlight after a dramatic weekend in which three prisoners were executed, a protester died in suspicious circumstances and a dissident occupied the roof of the country’s embassy in London.

Exiled activist Moosa Mohamed scaled the Gulf monarchy’s diplomatic headquarters in Belgravia on Friday night to demand PM Boris Johnson intervene in the imminent execution of two Bahraini prisoners.

Footage shows Mr Mohamed perched on the embassy’s four-storey-high roof before diplomats moved in.

The protester could be heard screaming for help and Metropolitan Police officers stormed the embassy to intervene.

Mr Mohamed was arrested and later released.

His protest did not stop a firing squad in Bahrain from going ahead with the double execution of two prisoners, Ali al-Arab and Ahmed al-Malali, along with a third man whose details are unknown.

UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who investigated Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at his country’s embassy in Istanbul, had called on Bahrain to annul their death sentences.

She said that the pair were “allegedly subjected to torture, prevented from attending their trial and sentenced to death in absentia.”

Ms Callamard had stressed on Friday: “I remind Bahrain that the only thing that distinguishes capital punishment from an arbitrary execution is full respect for the most stringent due process and fair trial guarantees.”

The executions triggered protests in Bahrain on Saturday, with British-trained riot police reportedly firing tear gas.

A 21-year-old protester was found unconscious in a suburb of the capital Manama on Saturday night and taken to hospital. The young man, Mohamed Ebrahim Habib Mansoor (aka Mohamed al-Miqdad), was declared dead at the Salmaniya medical complex on Sunday morning.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior issued a statement denying responsibility. But Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei from the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy said: “Bahrain’s assurances that Mohamed’s death occurred under normal circumstances have zero credibility.

“If Bahrain has nothing to hide, they should allow independent UN special rapporteurs to investigate allegations of human-rights abuses and police brutality.”

Rights group Reprieve said Britain had “spent millions of pounds of public money in Bahrain providing support to a criminal justice system that continues to torture and execute people following unjust trials.”

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