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Home Office admits Bahrain activist’s Gatwick detention was ‘unlawful’

The Independent reports that Bahraini activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei received an apology and an offer of compensation from the Home Secretary, after he was stopped by UK Border Force at Gatwick airport last year.

Alwadaei said the experience of being detained was “terrifying” and that the timing was “problematic” since it was was less than three months after Bahrain pledged £1 billion investment for the UK, which then removed the Gulf state from its list of human rights priority countries.

“For years I have been stopped at UK airports without explanation,” Sayed said, “but I am relieved that, on this occasion, the Home Office admitted it was unlawful to detain me.”

Reprieve’s joint executive director Maya Foa said that Sayed’s detention raised “troubling questions about the extent of Bahraini influence over the UK Government.”

“Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei is a courageous human rights defender who was granted asylum in the UK after being tortured and beaten for his activism in Bahrain.”

“Ministers must urgently confirm whether action against Sayed was brought about by pressure from the Bahraini authorities.”