Prince Edward & Sophie should apologise for Bahrain visit

William Hague was wrong to sanction collusion with bloody regime

Bahrain royal tyranny should be isolated and sanctioned

 1 July 2012

“Given the bloody repression of peaceful protests by the King of Bahrain, the Foreign Secretary William Hague should have never authorised Prince Edward and his wife Sophie to visit to the country – let alone accept extravagant gifts,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which supports the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.

He was commenting on today’s revelations about the December visit to Bahrain by the royal couple, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and their acceptance of gifts from the regime.

“Clearly, the Bahraini royals were using the visit by the Wessex’s as a public relations exercise, in bid to show that they still have international support and allies. Britain should have nothing to do with the tyranny in Bahrain. It should be isolated as a pariah state.

“William Hague and the Earl and Countess of Wessex should apologise for colluding with the Bahraini regime and return these blood-stained gifts.

“Edward and Sophie have shown extraordinarily poor judgment by accepting presents from the Bahraini dictatorship. They apparently think that enjoying the hospitality of rich foreign royals trumps human rights.

“William Hague made a major diplomatic blunder by approving their visit. It smacks of collusion with tyranny and is shockingly insensitive at a time of bloody repression by the Bahraini royals.

“According to a November 2011 report by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, 45 pro-democracy campaigners have been killed by the regime, 1,500 arrested, nearly 1,900 have suffered torture and ill-treatment and three protesters have been sentenced to death. The arrested and abused include doctors and nurses who treated the injured. Some of these medical staff have been put on trial and sentenced to long jail terms of up to 15 years.

Read the report in full here:

“Britain and the wider international community should be imposing sanctions against the Bahraini regime, not colluding with the dictatorship.

“These sanctions should include:

• Halt arms sales and cease military cooperation
• Ban travel and freeze the assets of top regime officials
• Embargo the export to Bahrain of luxury items
• Refer Bahrain’s leaders to the International Criminal Court on charges of torture and crimes against humanity
• Report Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the UN Security Council over their intervention in Bahrain and their role in suppressing the democracy protests
• Close the US naval base until such time as democracy and human rights are restored,” said Mr Tatchell.