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Maryam al-Khawaja: Bahrain remains in the grip of oppression, and the UK Government is partly to blame

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LAST year exiled Bahraini human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja told The National the UK had “become a problem” for freedoms in the Gulf region. Now the co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has written an exclusive response to the UK Government’s new focus on the region for The National following visits by both Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Al-Khawaja, who left her country for Europe to avoid a jail sentence, writes as her father Abdulhadi remains in prison for his pro-democracy work. He was sentenced to life by a military court on terror charges for his role in Bahrain’s civil uprising.

IN his speech during the Manama Dialogue, organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), in Bahrain, Boris Johnson said: “And so tonight I want to acknowledge that this policy of disengagement East of Suez was a mistake and in so far as we are now capable, and we are capable of a lot, we want to reverse that policy at least in this sense: that we recognise the strong historical attachment between Britain and the Gulf, and more importantly, we underscore the growing relevance and importance of that relationship in today’s uncertain and volatile world.”

 

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