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Activists picket horse show over Bahraini tyrant's visit

ACTIVISTS will picket the Royal Windsor Horse Show tomorrow to oppose the attendance of Bahrain’s “figurehead dictator” King Hamad.

Protesters have demonstrated against King Hamad’s attendance at the equestrian event since 2014 over his country’s appalling human rights record.

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy director of advocacy Sayed Alwadaei said: “King Hamad is attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show to launder his image, which has been tarred by repressive human rights practices at home and abroad.

“His attendance this year at the same time that repression has intensified highlights the clear hypocrisy of the current UK government, who continue to incentivise human rights abusers and reward them with a seat next to the Queen.”

More than 600 people in Bahrain have been stripped of their citizenship since 2012.

The UN committee against torture expressed its concerns over the use of torture to extract confessions and “the climate of impunity” that continues among Bahraini security forces.

In May last year, five people — including a 17-year-old — were killed by security forces and 286 people were arrested after attending a peaceful sit-in protest.

Student Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab said he was tortured throughout 26 days of interrogation, having his toenails pulled out, being subjected to electric shocks and beatings before being forced to sign a “confession” in March last year.

Campaign Against Arms Trade’s Lucie Kinchin said: “This visit is a royal whitewash. The message it sends is that the Queen fully supports the Bahraini dictatorship.

“However, the message it sends to those facing repression and torture at the hands of the Bahraini regime is that their rights are less important than political and military relations with a tyrant.

“Enough is enough. It is long past time for the UK Establishment to stop arming and supporting the Bahraini regime.”

Twenty-two British MPs have called for an investigation into Bahrain’s Prince Nasser for his alleged direct involvement in torturing dissidents in 2011.

Britain continues to arm and support the regime and licensed £82 million worth of arms since pro-democracy protests kicked off in 2011.

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