Email received 21 Feb re. #Bahrain alleged torturer in UK, receiving royal welcome:
Shaikh Nasser AlKhalifa, the alleged torturer and son of Bahrain's King, is currently in London where he is receiving the royal treatment. On Wednesday, Nasser met with Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of Staff of the British Army. Nasser also met with the organisers of the Royal Windor Horse Show to plan a side event at the festival, to be held in May in Windor Castle's private grounds.(1)
Nasser is apparently being encouraged to support sporting events, despite the grave accusations against him for his role in the 2011 crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. Speaking to Bahrain Television at the time, he called for "a wall to fall on the head" of anyone who opposed his father's rule, saying that, "Today is the judgement day ... Bahrain is an island and there is nowhere to escape to."(2)
In June 2012, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights submitted documents to Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, which charge Nasser with having instigated:
"a punitive campaign to repress Bahraini athletes who had demonstrated their support (for) the peaceful pro-democracy movement. Following his directives more than 150 professional athletes, coaches and referees were subjected to arbitrary arrests, night raids, detention, abuse and torture by electric cables and other means."(3)
Nasser himself also stands accused of having particpated personally in acts of torture in 2011. Mohammed Hassan Jawad, a leading Bahraini human rights defender and current prisoner of conscience, has directly accused Nasser of being involved in his torture:
"Nasser bin Hamad grabbed our heads and snapped them together, he shouted: How dare you chant for the downfall of [King] Hamad and you are just a scum. He started abusing us, began to flog, beat and kicked us everywhere, until felt tired. He took a rest and drank water and then resumed the torture by pulling us from our hair and beards. No one else was involved in our torture and hence agony; they let him spill his rancor. He ordered the jailers to put our feet up to beat us. The torture continued for almost half a day until dawn." (4)
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) reports on other accusations made against Nasser by political prisoners:(5)
* Swedish citizen Mohammed Habib Al-Muqdad claims Nasser was present during his torture in the underground prison of the National Security Apparatus. Nasser reportedly "slapped Al-Muqdad who fell to the ground, then with the help of torturers beat him severely".
* Abdulla Isa Al-Mahroos says that he was "beaten by Nasser Bin hamad Alkhalifa, and that Nassar forced him to open his mouth then spat in his mouth."
Also, an unnamed bus driver told BCHR that Nasser was present at a military checkpoint, where he was stopped at gunpoint. Nasser allegedly "kicked him, in sensitive areas, in his head and chest, and mostly on his face until he started bleeding".
Despite all of this, Nasser has been a frequent visitor to the UK since February 2011, enjoying meetings with the Mayor of London and others. During the Olympics, he was given VIP treatment as the head of the Bahrain regime's Olympic Committee.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office claim that: "Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the United Kingdom."(6)
Why is Nasser an exception to this rule?
(1) http://bna.bh/portal/en/news/547386, http://bna.bh/portal/en/news/547424
(6) http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Cm-8339.pdf (p53)