‘British police teaching Bahraini regime to whitewash torture deaths’

This video from the European Parliament says about itself:

4 February 2016

Alyn Smith MEP speaks on the institutional reform in Bahrain and raises the case of Mohamed Ramadan who is one of five people facing the death penalty in Bahrain.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

British guns for hire ‘teach Bahrainis to whitewash deaths’

Friday 21st October 2016

BRITISH police have advised their Bahraini counterparts on how to “whitewash” deaths in custody, international human rights group Reprieve alleged yesterday.

The guidance was part of a widely criticised multimillion-pound training deal with the Gulf kingdom, where security forces routinely rely on torture and the death penalty, both banned under international law.

The revelations adds to growing concerns about the use of Britain’s police and security forces as “guns for hire” to despotic regimes.

Bahrain’s poor human rights record has been highlighted recently by the case of Mohammed Ramadan, who has been held on death row since 2014. His lawyers allege that he was tortured into making a false confession.

Reprieve, which specialises in such cases and represents Mr Ramadan, argues that an investigation into his mistreatment, launched earlier this year, has been “deeply flawed and failed to meet international standards.”

An email unearthed by Reprieve shows that senior Bahraini police officers asked Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman in January for advice on how to present its handling of police complaints.

The visit focused on investigations involving deaths or serious injuries caused by police and how to liaise with families in these cases, according to emails obtained by Reprieve through freedom of information requests.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “It is shocking that Britain paid for Bahrain’s police to learn how to whitewash deaths in custody.

“Bahrain’s police have tortured innocent people like Mohammed Ramadan into confessing falsely to crimes that carry the death penalty and intimidated relatives who try to complain.”

16 thoughts on “‘British police teaching Bahraini regime to whitewash torture deaths’

  1. Saturday, 29 October 2016

    Britain aiding King Hamad drive to crush Bahraini democracy!

    THE unholy alliance between Prime Minister Theresa May and the King of Bahrain was cemented last Wednesday when she met King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the day after the feudal despot had met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

    Bahrain is to be the site of a massive British naval base to house at least one of the two major aircraft carriers that are being built. British officers currently direct the Bahraini security forces who are currently seeking to crush a pro-democracy movement.

    The international human rights organisation Reprieve has noted: ‘Britain gave Bahrain almost £2 million in aid money last year to support human rights “reforms” in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom, which is one of the UK’s closest allies in the region. However, Mohammed Ramadan, a father of three, remains on death row after he was tortured into making a false confession.

    ‘The UK has trained Bahraini investigators who are meant to assess his allegations, as well as tutoring police and prison guards at the jail where Mr Ramadan awaits imminent execution.

    ‘Mr Ramadan was arrested in February 2014 at Bahrain International Airport where he worked as a police officer, in retaliation for attending peaceful pro-democracy protests while off-duty.

    ‘He was accused of involvement in an attack on other police officers, despite no evidence tying him to the crime, and tortured into signing a false confession. Bahrain’s interior ministry remains marred by human rights abuses, despite years of UK training, much of which is delivered via a Northern Irish government-owned company called NI-CO.

    ‘Reprieve recently found that senior Bahraini police visited Belfast to discuss how to tell bereaved families that officers will not be prosecuted after a loved one has died in custody, raising concerns that the aid package was being manipulated. Foreign Office contractors have also trained around 400 prison guards at Bahrain’s Jau prison, where death row inmates including Mr Ramadan are being held. Details about the work with Bahrain’s jail guards remain classified and are now subject to a complaint to the Information Commissioner by Reprieve.’

    Commenting, Harriet McCulloch, deputy director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: ‘Theresa May must urgently raise Mohammed Ramadan’s case with the King of Bahrain when they meet this week. Britain is deeply involved with Bahrain’s interior ministry at every level. The Prime Minister cannot wash her hands of torture and death sentences in the Kingdom.’

    The king received an angry greeting in London, with protesters condemning the ruling Al Khalifah regime for its crackdown on dissent in the Persian Gulf kingdom. The protest erupted as the Bahraini ruler arrived to meet British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Wednesday. Protesters chanted anti-government slogans and demanded the Manama regime be investigated for its rights abuses. Some of them threw themselves at a car carrying the king outside Downing Street.

    Two prominent Bahraini human rights activists were detained by London police during the rally. Sayee Alwadaei, one of the arrested activists, told The Middle East Eye that the police ‘should be investigating the torture allegations coming from Bahrain, the abuses committed by the regime’ rather than targeting activists or journalists.

    A court in Bahrain has ruled that the assets belonging to the al-Wefaq opposition group, which was the largest parliamentary group in the country before being banned and dissolved, be auctioned off. A judicial source said last Saturday that the bloc’s assets were to go under the hammer on Wednesday, October 26, after a verdict by an administrative court sanctioned the move two days earlier.

    The properties include the group’s building headquarters outside the capital and two other offices in Shia villages, the source said. The group held the largest number of seats at the legislature before it was dissolved by the Manama regime in July. Before banning the group, the ruling regime had, among other things, accused it of ‘harbouring terrorism,’ inciting violence, and encouraging demonstrations. Al-Wefaq denied the accusations and the UN blasted the Bahraini regime’s move to ban it.

    Last Monday, the Bahraini court that has the ultimate say in appeal requests in the country ordered a retrial of distinguished Shia opposition cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, who used to lead al-Wefaq. Salman was arrested in December 2014 for backing reforms in the country through peaceful means.

    He was then sentenced on June 16, 2015 to four years in prison at a trial, which charged him with ‘publicly insulting the Interior Ministry’ and ‘publicly inciting others to disobey the law’ through his speeches. UK-based rights body Amnesty International described that trial as ‘unfair’.

    After appealing the verdict, the Supreme Court of Appeal increased Salman’s prison sentence to nine years in May on charges of inciting violence and calling for anti-regime demonstrations. Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

    Manama has relentlessly been cracking down on dissent. Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been deployed to the country to assist in the crackdown on peaceful protests. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the Bahraini crackdown on the anti-regime activists.



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