Boris Johnson Must Act To Halt Bahrain Repression – Reprieve

January 15, 2018

Human rights organization Reprieve has urged the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to intervene to halt repression in Bahrain, including the planned execution of political protesters. The call comes one year on from the Gulf Kingdom’s resumption of executions. 

On 15th January 2016, Bahrain executed 3 people who were arrested in the wake of protests and tortured into ‘confessions.’ Since those executions, the size of Bahrain’s death row has doubled, and at least two men face imminent execution on charges related to their attendance at political protests.

The Bahraini authorities have additionally engaged in reprisals against rights activists and their families. The authorities recently imprisoned the relatives of a UK-based campaigner, Sayed al Wadaei, who has spoken out about the death penalty and other abuses in Bahrain.

Bahrain is a close UK ally. Research by Reprieve has found that the British government has given substantial support to Bahrain’s prison system, as part of a recent package of ‘reform’ support. The package has included the training by Britain of hundreds of guards on Bahrain’s death row, where torture is rife.

Boris Johnson’s response to the executions last year was criticised by Reprieve as “woefully inadequate.”

Commenting, Harriet McCulloch, a deputy director at Reprieve, said:

“Bahrain’s resumption of executions is a tragic reminder that the human rights situation in the Kingdom is deteriorating, despite the millions the UK Foreign Office has spent trying to reform the country’s police and prisons. Since last year’s execution of three protesters who were tortured into ‘confessing’, Bahrain has sentenced more protesters to death after unfair trials, while campaigners have been targeted for daring to speak out. Boris Johnson must make British security assistance to Bahrain strictly conditional on real reform. That includes an urgent end to the death penalty for protesters, and a halt to political reprisals.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization with offices in New York and London. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: media@reprieve.org.uk / +44 207 553 8140.