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Bahrain: UK MPs slam government for prioritising trade above human rights

A group of British MPs condemned the government’s “blind eye” over human rights abuses in Bahrain and called for an end of funding to the kingdom during a backbench debate on Thursday.

Ten years after the kingdom’s 2011 pro-democracy uprising – and the Bahraini government’s subsequent crackdown – the MPs expressed exasperation over the UK’s staunch support for its longtime ally given the ongoing repression in the country.

Their criticism comes as 1,400 political prisoners, including many imprisoned for their roles in the uprising, remain behind bars, accusing authorities of unfair trials and torture.

The UK has financially supported Bahrain for a decade, including through the opaquely run Gulf Strategy Fund. In August, the government disclosed that the fund is supporting Bahrain’s interior ministry and four other bodies which oversee detainees.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of the Bahrain Insitute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said it was brilliant to see cross-party MPs raise the plight of Bahraini political prisoners. Read the full story in Middle East Eye.