A group of UK lawmakers have discussed the poor human rights situation in Bahrain during a public parliamentary meeting held under the title: torture in Bahrain: justice, accountability, and the U.K. Magnitsky sanctions regime.
The event was chaired by the prominent human rights lawyer Sue Willman and included the speakers: MP Andy Slaughter, Megan Smith of REDRESSTrus organisation, Josie Thum of London-based BIRD organisation, and Khalid Ibrahim of the Gulf Center for Human Rights.
During the event, Khalid Ibrahim read a testimony on behalf of human rights defender torture survivor Ibrahim Al-Demistani and talked about the cases of HRD Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and other activists.
The event also detailed shocking abuses which took place in Jau prison in Bahrain in April 2021, where protests in response to the outbreak of Covid and the detention conditions were brutally repressed.
For his part, Labour MP Andy Slaughter pointed out that “there is a strong desire for a close relationship between the government, the defence establishment, and even the royal family, and the Bahraini regime.”
The Bahraini opposition consistently punches above its weight, he added.
“There have previously been groups in parliament which acted as apologists for the Al-Khalifa family,” he further said.
Last month, a group of MEPs sent a letter to the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, voicing their “deep concern” about the deterioration of human rights in Bahrain.
The MEPs also drew attention to what they called the kingdom’s de facto suspension in 2017 of a moratorium on the death penalty, highlighting that five of six executions that have taken place were deemed arbitrary by UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard.