UK must stop Bahrain’s reprisals against death penalty campaigner

The family of a UK resident who campaigns against the death penalty in Bahrain is coming under sustained attack, human rights group Reprieve has warned the Foreign Secretary.

Sayed al-Wadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), says that Bahrani detectives have detained and tortured his relatives.

Mr al-Wadaei has indefinite leave to remain in the UK after Bahrain’s police tortured him. However, many of his family still live in Bahrain.

Bahrain’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detained his mother-in-law on the morning of 7 March. Last week, the CID detained his 18-year-old brother-in-law and allegedly tortured him.

“Reprieve is extremely concerned by Bahrain’s continued reprisals against Sayed’s family for his UK-based advocacy work on behalf of people facing the death penalty in Bahrain. Freedom of expression might be banned in Bahrain, but the British government cannot allow Bahrain to punish UK residents who highlight the country’s poor human rights record on torture and executions. Boris Johnson must advocate for an immediate end to the persecution of Sayed’s relatives in Bahrain.”

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve

BIRD and Reprieve have previously raised concerns that Bahrain’s CID tortured five men into falsely confessing to capital crimes.

The authorities executed three of these men in January 2017, and the other two remain at high risk on death row.

This is not the first time Bahrain has targeted Mr al-Wadaei’s family for his advocacy work in the UK.

Last year, Bahraini police detained and mistreated his wife when she tried to leave the country with their baby boy.

This incident came hours after Mr al-Wadaei protested peacefully outside Downing Street over Theresa May’s meeting with King Hamad.