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AN ARAB SPRING activist has slammed Britain’s “toxic” security relationship with Bahrain after it emerged that the head of the Gulf dictatorship’s military has been attending high-level talks in London.
Field Marshall Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, commander-in-chief of Bahrain’s armed forces, was ushered into the Ministry of Defence (MoD) headquarters in Whitehall earlier this week to meet chief of the defence staff Sir Nicholas Carter.
But Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei from the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy (Bird) warned: “The toxic security relationship does nothing to protect the citizens of Bahrain.
“Rather, British arms, hardware and technical support are used by the Bahraini government to suppress not only their own people but in support of the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which the UN describes as the world’s ‘worst man-made catastrophe’.”
He added: “Khalifa bin Ahmed is a man under whose watch civilians were sentenced to death by military courts and is a totally unsuitable partner for a nation that proclaims to value and defend human rights.”
Last month, a United Nations expert condemned Bahrain for executing two men reported to have been tortured into making false confessions.
But an MoD spokesman told the Morning Star: “Bahrain is a long-standing British ally and both countries work closely across diplomatic, economic and security matters.
“It is vital that we work with close allies like Bahrain to tackle shared threats.”
The Royal Navy has a military base in Bahrain where HMS Duncan, the warship sent to patrol the Strait of Hormuz, is currently docked.
A spokesman from the Bahrain embassy said the pair “discussed ways of strengthening joint military cooperation" and insisted that the death penalty was "rarely implemented and then in only the most serious of cases.”
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