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Tory leadership hopeful praises Bahraini dictator as a political prisoner speaks out

JEREMY HUNT has praised the human rights situation in Bahrain, saying the Gulf country’s ruthless king is “committed” to reform.

The Foreign Secretary made the bizarre claim in his department’s annual review of human rights around the world, published this week.

The Tory leadership contender even congratulated King Hamad for holding “successful” parliamentary elections last year.

Major opposition parties were banned from the sham poll and the king’s uncle remains the country’s prime minister, a post he has held since 1969.

In a glowing report, Mr Hunt also trumpeted how Britain has funded “the development of effective mechanisms [in Bahrain] to hold state institutions, including the police, the security service and the prison service, to account.”

However, a political prisoner in Bahrain has slammed Mr Hunt’s claims and is threatening to go on hunger strike if jail conditions do not improve.

Ali Hussein al-Hajee was arrested in 2013 after taking part in peaceful protests against Bahrain’s authoritarian regime.

Police allegedly beat his testicles, urinated on him and threatened to rape his wife. He was then sentenced to a decade in prison under terrorism charges.

Mr Hajee, now 36, claims his ill treatment has continued while in jail, and British-funded torture watchdogs have failed to intervene.

“The British training was not effective in improving prison conditions,” he said in a statement seen by the Morning Star. 

He claims Whitehall’s involvement has “served to both deny and cover-up human rights violations rather than counteracting them or remedying the deficiencies of prison institutions in Bahrain.”

The Bahraini embassy told the Star: “It must be stated that the allegation that Mr Hajee has been tortured [is] unfounded. Nevertheless, such allegations are taken very seriously.”

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