Queen urged: Scrap royal invite to Saudi Prince

Saudi troops are aiding repression in Bahrain
Seven royal tyrants on royal wedding guest list
William Hague and The Queen approved royal despots

Novelist, columnist and human rights defender Joan Smith, and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, joined Bahraini democracy supporters for a silent vigil outside the main gates of Buckingham Palace today, Thursday 28 April 2011.

“We are protesting against Saudi Prince, Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, being invited to the royal wedding, despite the involvement of Saudi troops in crushing the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. The invitation by the Queen was approved by the Foreign Secretary William Hague, according to St James’s Palace. This invitation is an insult the many people in Bahrain who have been murdered, arrested jailed and tortured. We urge the Queen and Foreign Secretary to withdraw this invitation,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Human rights activists in Bahrain report that 35 civilians have been killed, over 400 injured and four people have died in custody after beatings and torture. An estimated 800 Bahrainis have been arrested, including opposition leaders. Shia mosques and shrines have been destroyed. Saudi military forces are helping with this repression,” Mr Tatchell added.

See this report in The Independent: http://tiny.cc/0dmja

“The Saudi prince is one of seven leading royals from autocratic states who have been invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“It is deplorable that the Queen has invited royal representatives from the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Swaziland, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Abu Dhabi. All seven royal families preside over severe human rights abuses, such as detention without trial, torture, the denial of free speech, restrictions on press freedom, bans on political parties, discrimination against women, oppression of minority faiths, homophobic persecution, ill-treatment of guest workers and the violent suppression of peaceful protests. The seven regimes are backed by western governments, despite their appalling human rights records.

“These invitations are a massive misjudgement by the monarch. They show the Queen is out of touch with the humanitarian values of most British people. She’s putting royalty before human rights.

“The guest list displays a shocking insensitivity to the suffering of people who have been persecuted by these royal despots. It is an insult to the victims of dictatorship for our royal family to welcome and embrace these oppressors.

“The seven invitations should be withdrawn immediately, as a mark of respect for those who have been murdered, arrested, jailed and tortured.

“St James's Palace claims the Queen invited the seven dictatorial royals to William and Kate’s wedding with the agreement of the Foreign Office. This approval was presumably sanctioned by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

“William Hague should come clean about the advice he gave the Queen. If he did authorise wedding invitations to royal tyrants, he has shown exceedingly poor judgement and caused great distress to the victims of royal repression. The British monarch and government should not be colluding with human rights abusers. We should be on the side of the victims,” added Mr Tatchell.

St James's Palace has defended the wedding guest list, insisting that the Foreign Office had approved it. "Invitations are extended from the Queen following the long-held tradition of inviting other crowned heads of state; we have taken advice from the Foreign Office about their continued inclusion," a spokesman told the media last weekend.

See the official royal wedding invitation list here: http://tiny.cc/rr1dk

Examples of human rights abuses by the seven countries whose royal representatives have been invited to Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s wedding on 29 April:

Saudi Arabia
http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2011/saudi-arabia
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Rights-Group-Charges-Sau...

Swaziland
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13046740
http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/-/1066/1144068/-/12k5fq3/-/

Qatar
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE22/001/2009/en/edcd06e7-59c0-...
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE22/001/2010/en/f6c07b9d-4313-...
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154471.htm

Oman
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/03/03/oman-investigate-deaths-protest-cl...

Kuwait
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/01/31/kuwait-free-speech-and-assembly-un...

Brunei
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA15/001/2009/en/1f0f2a30-8919-...

Abu Dhabi
http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2011/united-arab-emirates
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/unitedarabemirates/...
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/02/uae-ruling-undermines-press-freedom