BRITISH authorities were accused yesterday of covering up the provision of intelligence training to Bahraini police on how to gather information about protesters.
The government’s intelligence project was put in place after protesters in the Gulf kingdom were rounded up and sentenced to death, international human rights charity Reprieve claims.
Bahraini police officers were allegedly paid by the Foreign Office to visit Belfast in August 2015 so that the Police Service of Northern Ireland could teach them how to gather intelligence ahead of demonstrations.
Protesters in Bahrain, such as Mohammed Ramadan, have been targeted by police and tortured into falsely confessing to capital crimes.
Mr Ramadan, a father of three young children, is now on death row and could be executed at any time.
The training, which also included sessions on the use of water cannon, dog handling and public order tactics, was kept secret.
The government has repeatedly denied providing public order training to Bahrain’s security forces.
A statement from the Cabinet Office said: “The UK does not fund any programmes in Bahrain focused on public order.”
However, documents obtained by Reprieve show that Bahrain’s police received an “introduction to combined operational training with a focus on public order.”
The training was prepared by Northern Ireland police officers during a week-long “scoping” visit to Bahrain in April-May 2015, during which they assessed Bahrain’s public order set-up, Reprieve said.
Reprieve death penalty team director Maya Foa said: “It is outrageous that the government has covered up this project, which risks supporting the execution of protesters in Bahrain.
“Bahrain is notorious for arresting, torturing and sentencing to death people involved in protests.
“By training Bahrain’s police how to gather intelligence on protesters, there is a serious risk that Britain is helping them arrest and execute people who are guilty of nothing more than calling for reform.
“It is scandalous that the government has sought to sweep this under the carpet.”
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