PM must raise death penalty with Bahrain King
October 26, 2016
Theresa May must raise concerns about the death penalty and torture when she meets the King of Bahrain in London this week, international human rights organisation Reprieve has said.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is currently in the UK and visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, according to reports.
Britain gave Bahrain almost £2 million in aid money last year to support human rights ‘reforms’ in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom, which is one of the UK’s closest allies in the region.
However, Mohammed Ramadan, a father of three, remains on death row after he was tortured into making a false confession.
The UK has trained Bahraini investigators who are meant to assess his allegations, as well as tutoring police and prison guards at the jail where Mr Ramadan awaits imminent execution.
Mr Ramadan was arrested in February 2014 at Bahrain International Airport where he worked as a police officer, in retaliation for attending peaceful pro-democracy protests while off-duty.
He was accused of involvement in an attack on other police officers, despite no evidence tying him to the crime, and tortured into signing a false confession.
Bahrain’s interior ministry remains marred by human rights abuses, despite years of UK training, much of which is delivered via a Northern Irish government-owned company called NI-CO.
Reprieve recently found that senior Bahraini police visited Belfast to discuss how to tell bereaved families that officers will not be prosecuted after a loved one has died in custody, raising concerns that the aid package was being manipulated.
Foreign Office contractors have also trained around 400 prison guards at Bahrain’s Jau prison, where death row inmates including Mr Ramadan are being held. Details about the work with Bahrain’s jail guards remain classified and are now subject to a complaint to the Information Commissioner by Reprieve.
Commenting, Harriet McCulloch, deputy director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said:
“Theresa May must urgently raise Mohammed Ramadan’s case with the King of Bahrain when they meet this week. Britain is deeply involved with Bahrain’s interior ministry at every level. The Prime Minister cannot wash her hands of torture and death sentences in the Kingdom.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 20 7553 8140. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064.
2. More detail on Mohammed Ramadan’s case is available on the Reprieve website here
3. Reprieve’s report on NI-CO, Belfast to Bahrain: the torture trail, is available to download here