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Prince Charles accused of “burying British values” as he opens naval base in troubled Bahrain

Prince Charles has come under renewed criticism over human rights abuses in Bahrain after he yesterday opened part of a new £30m naval base gifted to Britain by the Gulf state.

One activist in the town of Diraz, close to where Prince Charles yesterday met members of the Bahraini royal family during his three-day visit with the Duchess of Cornwall, said: “They are betting on the silence of the West because of the supply of the facilities. The [West] are compromising other things for this.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy for the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said: “The UK continually claims to support human rights in Bahrain, but to what result? Britain has only got more friendly with a regime which has escalated its repression in the past year.

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Charles and Camilla visit Bahrain's oldest Hindu temple

The Bahrain visit marks 200 years of formal relations between the two countries, dating from a treaty of friendship signed in 1816.

But the trip comes amid concerns of continued human rights abuses in Bahrain.

Prince Charles has faced calls to raise concerns over how Bahrain's security forces have dealt with a string of mass protests in the country.

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Bahrain opposition leader fears 'whitewash' of crackdown

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla began wrapping up their trip to Bahrain on Friday, as a leader in the island's secular opposition warned their visit could "whitewash" an ongoing crackdown on dissent

Ebrahim Sharif of the Waad Party, who himself has been detained by the island's Sunni rulers, said he hoped the Prince of Wales brought up human rights issues behind closed doors with leaders here.

Bahrain, a small island off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, put down Arab Spring protests in 2011 with the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Since then, authorities suspended the country's largest Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, and doubled a prison sentence for its secretary-general, Sheikh Ali Salman. Famed activist Nabeel Rajab was imprisoned and now awaits sentencing on a charge of spreading "false news." Zainab al-Khawaja, the daughter of well-known activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who himself is serving a life sentence over his role in the 2011 protests, was forced into exile.

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Prince Charles's Bahrain visit 'backs human rights abuses', says activist and torture survivor

A Bahraini human rights activist and torture survivor claims Prince Charles's visit to the Arab kingdom is being used to "whitewash" its record on civil liberties.

The Prince of Wales is touring the Gulf state until Friday as part of a trip that includes "greenlighting" a £30m British navy base.

Refugee Sayed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute of Rights and Democracy (BIRD), spoke exclusively to The Independent after recently being reunited with the family he thought he would never see again.

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Prince Charles urged to highlight cases of Bahraini activists

Amnesty International has urged UK royal Prince Charles to highlight the cause of jailed Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab, during a meeting with the island's ruler King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa this week.

The human rights groups said that the Prince of Wales should use the opportunity of his visit the Bahraini leadership on Tuesday to bring up Rajab's case following the recent postponement of his verdict

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Two Weeks of No Contact: Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi Another Victim of Enforced Disappearance in Bahrain

As of 6 November 2016, Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi has been forcibly disappeared for two weeks following his arrest at the hands of Bahraini security forces. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns the ongoing practice of enforced disappearance of detainees in Bahrain.  

Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi, 43 years old, a resident of Duraz, disappeared on 24 October 2016, around 4pm. His family told BCHR that they received the last call from him at around 3pm when he told them he was going to be late due to his workload. However, they were not able to reach him on the phone later as his phone had been switched off. He didn’t return home, and his family searched for him at hospitals without luck, then filed a missing person report at the Budaiya police station. Later that day, the police station called the family to inform them that Alawi was being detained at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), and asked the family to cancel the missing report.

On 25 October, Alawi’s family filed a complaint with the Ombudsman for arbitrary and illegal arrest, as no arrest warrant was ever seen.

Since then, the family has asked about Alawi at the CID several times without receiving any information about him from CID officers, who refused to confirm or deny having Alawi in detention. On 1 November, a CID officer only agreed to receive some clothes for Alawi. On 3 November, Alawi’s wife was called to come to CID and retrieve the clothes of her husband and to take them to Dry Dock Detention Center. When she went to receive the clothing, the officers refused to give it to her initially. To add to the family troubles, when they went to the Dry Dock Detention Center with the clothes, the officer of the prison informed them that Alawi was not there either.

Since his disappearance, Alawi has not called his family once. He has no access to a lawyer or to any family members. His lawyer has continued to ask about him at the public prosecution which being provided any information.

The act of enforced disappearance directly violates many basic human rights, including the right to liberty, right to security and dignity, right to recognition before the law, right to fair trial, and the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel and inhumane treatment.

BCHR continues to document such cases of enforced disappearance on a regular basis. Bahrain continuously appears in the annual reports of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) since 2011 and has been criticized in WGEID’s 108th session document for providing merely “insufficient” information regarding the clarification of the urgent cases of two men allegedly arrested by state agents in September and November 2015.

Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the government of Bahrain to:      

  • Immediately disclose the whereabouts of Sayed Alawi Hussain Alawi and release him;
  • End the practice of enforced disappearance, including depriving arrested individuals of their right to a lawyer, or to contact their families.

 

Bahrain: briefing ahead of Prince Charles’ visit

Ahead of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit next week to Bahrain, Amnesty International issued the following summary of its human rights concerns on the country.
 
Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs Allan Hogarth said: 
 
“We’re not expecting Prince Charles to reinvent himself as a human rights campaigner on this trip, but we hope he’ll use some of his time to speak about universal values like free speech and open debate.

 

 
 
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