Queen to meet Bahrain King, despite executions and torture

May 11, 2017

The Queen is to sit alongside the King of Bahrain at the Royal Windsor Horse Show – despite the Kingdom’s recent lifting of a moratorium on the death penalty, and a surge in executions of protestors.

According to reports, King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa will ‘host’ the Queen and 19 other VIPs at the annual Windsor Horse Show, in a special ‘Kingdom of Bahrain Lounge’.

The royal meeting will take place amid a crackdown on political dissent in the Kingdom. The Bahraini authorities recently resumed executions after a 6-year moratorium, executing three political protesters who had been sentenced to death on the strength of forced ‘confessions’. At least two more protesters could be executed at any time.

International human rights group Reprieve has found that the British government has given substantial support to Bahrain’s criminal justice system, despite human rights concerns. The UK support includes the training of hundreds of guards on Bahrain’s death row, where torture of political prisoners is rife.

Commenting, Director of Reprieve Maya Foa said:

“Make no mistake – visits like this gift the Bahraini government a royal cloak of acceptability, while the Kingdom mercilessly executes political prisoners and uses torture to extract ‘confessions’. Theresa May wants stronger UK-Gulf relations, but we must not help the Bahrainis to whitewash their appalling abuses. Instead of drafting in the Queen to cosy up to King Hamad, the UK must urgently protest Bahrain’s use of torture and executions to silence opponents.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications@reprieve.org.uk, or +44 207 553 8140. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on: katherine.oshea@reprieve.org, or +1 917 855 8064.

2. The UK Foreign Office has spent over £5 million in aid money on reforming Bahrain’s human rights record since protests swept the Gulf kingdom in 2011. More information on the UK’s support for Bahrain’s prison system is available at the Reprieve website, here.

3. Reprieve and other human rights organizations have written to the Queen and the organizers of this week’s Windsor event.