‘Big British names in Bahrain have not stopped torture’

A protester holding stones stands next to fire during police clashes in the village of Sitra south of Manama © Hamad I Mohammed
Human rights organizations have accused London of ‘whitewashing’ Bahrain's record in the United Nations, former Bahraini MP Jalal Fairooz told RT. The profit from the sale of weapons could be one reason for the silence, he added.

RT: Why has the UK put so much effort into improving the image of the Bahraini government?

Jalal Fairooz: It is a long story - the UK considers the regime in Bahrain as its project, and it wants to show the project is successful. Unfortunately, that requires lots of whitewashing and making fake presentations. Actually, the UK says that it has even advisors helping the Bahrainis to raise the standards of human rights in Bahrain. But what is happening is on the contrary.

The UK has some big names there, like John Yates and [Sir Daniel] Bethlehem, and others who were previously in Scotland Yard and in the UK Home Office, and now they are there in Bahrain, but the torture doesn’t stop. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has wanted to visit Bahrain for four years and is being prevented.

What now is obvious is that because the British have been having this particular strategic tie with Bahrain - especially after establishing the naval base in Bahrain, which was paid fully, by the way, by the Bahraini government. Now you can see that the UK gets a lot of profit because of selling the arms – both to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain… That’s why you saw last September the British were lobbying for the Saudis to be the head of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC). That is the irony here in Britain. Of course there are lots of MPs who have raised questions in Parliament, but all over you could see them just trying to stand on the side of the Bahraini regime and government and against the Bahraini people – that is very unfortunate.

RT: Do we have any idea as to the scale of this 'whitewashing' of Bahrain's image? What has been actually going on? Do we have any details?

JF: Well, in just two weeks Bahrain has to undergo what is called a universal review of its human rights record in Geneva. Now there are lots of prominent international human rights organizations, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch trying to say to the UK: “Please, don’t stop, don’t be a shield for the Bahrainis. Let this go through.” But it seems that even now there are some countries, I don’t like to mention, [that] are working for the sake of the Bahraini people. They want to present a strong case in the Human Rights Council. But it is again the UK, representatives in Geneva, who are preventing that and they are really doing lots of bullying against at least the European countries.

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