Bahrain regime tries Christmas bribe of British MP

This video is called Torturing detainees in Bahrain.

The absolute monarchy in Bahrain has, it seems, successfully bribed US American TV star Kim Kardashian, US media corporation CNN, and the British armed forces.

However, sometimes something seems to go wrong with Bahraini royal corruption.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

MP refuses to accept hamper from Bahrain’s ambassador

Ann Clwyd, a member of inquiry into human rights abuses by Bahraini regime, returns package to Fortnum & Mason

Rajeev Syal

Thursday 20 December 2012 18.47 GMT

Bahrain‘s ambassador to London has been snubbed after sending a Christmas hamper to an MP who sits on a committee conducting an inquiry into human rights abuses in the country.

Ann Clwyd, who has criticised the regime for torturing and imprisoning pro-democracy campaigners, was surprised to find a festive Fortnum & Mason wicker basket in her office on Wednesday.

After inquiries with the royal grocers, she discovered the hamper was a gift from Alice Thomas Samaan, Bahrain’s ambassador. Clwyd returned the hamper to the store and sent a letter to the embassy explaining that she could not accept it.

Clwyd sits on the foreign affairs select committee that is conducting an inquiry into the Foreign Office’s response to Bahrain’s human rights abuses and she chairs the all-party parliamentary human rights group. She was surprised to be confronted with such a large basket in her office – it was, her staff estimate, nearly a metre long, 60cm wide and 60cm high.

“I asked my researcher where it came from, but inside there was just a note saying that it was a Christmas hamper but no explanation of who had sent it,” she said.

Inside, staff could see chocolates and champagne, but did not explore further because Clywd was already concerned about who had sent it.

A member of her staff called Fortnum & Mason, which confirmed it had come from Samaan.

Because they did not open it, staff are unsure whether it was a “jubilee” hamper, worth about £200, which contains champagne, truffles and a jubilee tea towel, or a “Christmas feast” hamper, worth £500, which includes smoked salmon, stilton, cranberry sauce, Christmas pudding, coffee, chocolate biscuits and gin.

“I just could not accept it given what has happened to the citizens of Bahrain. I said, ‘Lets get it out of my office and send it back’,” she said.

Further inquiries from the Guardian established that Samaan sent similar packages from the store in London’s Piccadilly to about 10 other MPs.

Conor Burns, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, who is chairman of the all-party group on Bahrain, said he was one of the recipients.

Burns, a former public relations executive who went on a £3,279 trip funded by the Bahraini foreign ministry in October 2010 to observe elections in the country, said he had not yet opened it.

“What I sometimes do is distribute foodstuffs to charities. But given that the hamper is in London and I am on my way to Bournemouth, it isn’t a big deal,” he said.

It is understood that five other members of the foreign affairs select committee were contacted on Thursday by parliamentary officials but none of them had received similar packages.

Samaan was appointed head of Bahrain’s diplomatic mission to London last year. No one from the Bahraini embassy was available for comment.

Rallies and gatherings are banned in Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s fifth fleet and has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its Shi’ite Muslim majority erupted last year.

Bahrain’s ruling Al-Khalifa family, who are Sunni Muslims, used martial law and help from Gulf neighbours to put down last year’s uprising, but unrest has resumed. The opposition says little progress has been made towards its demands for reforms including a parliament with full powers to legislate and form governments. Many Shi’ites complain of political and economic marginalisation, a charge that Bahrain denies.

New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof used Twitter on Monday night to outfox a Middle Eastern government [of Bahrain] he suspects of human-rights abuses: here.

From Associated Press:

December 20

WASHINGTON — The government of Bahrain has fallen short of commitments to recognize labor rights and prevent employment discrimination under a free trade agreement with the United States, the Labor Department said Thursday.

But the agency declined to suspend the trade pact, despite a request from the AFL-CIO. Instead, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis urged more diplomatic talks with Bahrain to resolve complaints about the Persian Gulf nation’s crackdown on unions and labor reform protesters.

See also here.

8 thoughts on “Bahrain regime tries Christmas bribe of British MP

  1. European Envoy Urges Bahrain to Free Prisoners

    MANAMA, Bahrain December 20, 2012 (AP)

    The head of a European Parliament human rights delegation is urging Bahrain to release political prisoners as a step toward easing an anti-government uprising in the strategic Gulf nation.

    Inese Vaidere of Latvia told reporters Thursday that authorities should free all “prisoners of conscience” as a crucial step toward negotiations in the 22-month uprising.

    Vaidere said the European team met with jailed opposition leaders including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been sentenced to life in prison.

    More than 55 people have died in Bahrain’s near nonstop unrest since February 2011. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.


  2. Workers stage protest seeking reinstatement

    Posted on » Friday, December 21, 2012

    A GROUP of dismissed workers and their families yesterday staged a sit-in near the Labour Ministry in Isa Town, demanding their reinstatement.

    More than 30 workers carried placards demanding authorities to fully implement recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report.

    One protester said there were many who were not happy with new terms and conditions set by companies to reinstate employees dismissed during the unrest last year.

    “I have refused to accept the new offer by my company as they have shifted me to another position and this is not fair,” said Sayed Mohammed.

    The workers protested peacefully for an hour with community police surrounding the area.

    Hundreds of Bahraini workers were sacked for taking part in illegal protests during the unrest, taking part in strikes called by the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions on February 20 and March 12 last year and absenteeism or were facing criminal charges in connection with the unrest.


  3. Bahraini activist arrested for Twitter posts

    From Mohammed Jamjoom and Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN

    December 21, 2012 — Updated 0355 GMT (1155 HKT)


    Yousif al-Muhafda is accused of disseminating false information about clashes
    A prosecutor points to a photo that went up during a demonstration Monday
    The activist’s attorney says he was observing the demonstration, not participating
    Human rights activists say his arrest is part of a growing crackdown on social media

    (CNN) — Twitter posts about anti-government protests have landed a human rights activist in Bahrain behind bars.

    Said Yousif al-Muhafda is accused of disseminating false information about clashes between security forces and protesters in the country’s capital, the state-run Bahrain News Agency said Thursday.

    Al-Muhafda, the head of documentation for the Bahrain Center of Human Rights, was arrested Monday during a demonstration, attorney Mohamed Al-Jishi said.

    Just before his arrest, the center said a series of posts went out on his Twitter account, describing a shotgun injury, tear gas and “security forces spraying pepper spray on female protesters faces as they mock them/laugh.”

    Al-Muhafda has been using the account for months to document what he says are human rights violations in Bahrain.

    A government prosecutor pointed to one Twitter post, which showed a picture of an injured leg.

    The image, posted Monday, “resulted in protests and acts of sabotage that disrupted security on that same day,” Bahrain’s government news agency said, citing Deputy Attorney General Mohammed Salah.

    The activist’s attorney says he was observing the demonstration, not participating.

    He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

    Human rights activists have criticized the arrest, saying it is part of a growing crackdown on social media posts.

    “The authorities are placing extensive surveillance on social media, and several were arrested because of their online posts in an act that serves to intimidate others to move into self-censorship,” the Gulf Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said in a statement.

    Bahraini authorities imposed a ban on public protests in October, saying it was necessary because “increasing violence has resulted in death and serious injury to many.”

    But Amnesty International said the move breached people’s right to free speech.

    Violent clashes have broken out between security forces and opposition protesters on numerous occasions since protests began in the island nation in February 2011, spurred by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Bahrain plays a key strategic role in the Middle East and is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet headquarters.


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