The senior British police officer forced to resign over the phone hacking scandal landed himself in more hot water today after claiming that Bahrain was “safer than London.”
Former Metropolitan Police Commander John Yates resigned his position last year before taking a new job in December 2011 as a security adviser to the Bahraini regime.
He made the comments in a letter to Formula One president Jean Todt as pressure grows on the sport to cancel this month’s scheduled Bahrain grand prix due to ongoing state oppression following last year’s pro-democracy protests.
In the letter Mr Yates urged racing teams to visit the kingdom and said he and his family felt safer there than in London.
While admitting that “nightly skirmishes” in the kingdom’s villages were of concern he said these were often “overplayed” by social media.
His comments emerged on the same day as Amnesty International issued its latest damning assessment of human rights abuses in Bahrain.
“The human rights crisis in Bahrain is not over,” the charity stated.
“Despite the authorities’ claims to the contrary, state violence against those who oppose the al-Khalifa family rule continues, and in practice, not much has changed in the country since the brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters in February and March 2011.”
In November the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), set up by King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, reported that authorities had violated human rights with impunity, the excessive use of force against protesters, widespread torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and unlawful killings.
In conclusion the charity said: “Holding the Grand Prix in Bahrain in 2012 risks being interpreted by the government of Bahrain as symbolising a return to business as usual.”
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.
As Britain faces a new housing crisis we can learn from an occasion when tenants banded together to beat their landlord - and won new council housing
Iain Duncan Smith's brainchild came into force at the end of last month. It's bad news for almost everyone