Boris Johnson secretly met Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the country’s prime minister, and his senior officials to discuss a free trade deal with the Gulf states and agreed to “further strengthen our economic, security and diplomatic cooperation”.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said:
“If Britain is truly seeking a free trade deal with a regime that holds political prisoners as hostages, tortures children and throws even mild critics in jail, it is imperative that human rights issues are at the core of any future trade relationship.”
Reprieve, the campaign group against the death penalty, pointed to the cases of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa – two men that have been facing execution since at least 2017 for what they “confessed” under torture. In a joint report coinciding with the visit, Reprieve and Bird said: “Between 2011 and 2020, Bahrain has sentenced at least 51 people to death. Between 2001 and 2010, the decade before the Arab spring, the number executed was seven.” They claimed that per head of the population, Bahrain’s record was not substantially better than Iran’s.
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven said:
“I am dismayed but unfortunately not surprised that the prime minister rolled out the red carpet and put trade over torture with his meeting with the crown prince today. Even the official press release fails to mention human rights abuses.”