Campaigners criticise Buckingham Palace for inviting dictator to join Queen at horse show

The Queen will sit next to Bahraini dictator King Hamad at the event

Campaigners have condemned Buckingham Palace’s decision to invite King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain over to the UK for the Windsor Horse Show.

The event, which has included Bahraini participation for years, presents a major public relations opportunity for the regime.

Over recent years there has been a further intensification of the repression of rights in Bahrain.

Human Rights Watch has accused the Bahraini authorities of torture, arbitrary citizenship revocations and, and the intimidation and abuse of human rights campaigners.

Last month the Bahrain Council of Representatives passed amendments expanding the use of the death penalty in Bahrain.

Despite the repression in Bahrain, the UK government has continued to arm and support the regime.

Since the uprising began in February 2011, the UK has licensed over £100 million worth of arms to the Bahraini authorities.

In 2018 the UK opened a permanentnaval base in Bahrain, largely paid for by Bahrain.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: 

“This visit is a moral disgrace. It offers a major international stage to a dictatorship that has a long history of repression.

The UK Government has made itself complicit in the abuses by arming and supporting the Bahraini authorities, regardless of the consequences.

The UK should be standing with the human rights campaigners calling for change, not with the regime which is denying basic rights.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy said: 

“It is shameful that King Hamad is going to be offered a seat next to the Queen.

The Bahraini regime continues to jail and torture human rights defenders and journalists.

The UK Government continues to look the other way and cover up Bahrain’s appalling rights record by investing in arms sales and a new naval base in return. This toxic relationship must come to an end.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei is a refugee from Bahrain. He has accused the Bahraini regime of punishing his family in Bahrain for his campaigning in the UK.

In April, David Beckham was criticised for attending the Bahraini Grand Prix and thanking the country’s Crown Prince for his “friendship”.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

3 Responses to “Campaigners criticise Buckingham Palace for inviting dictator to join Queen at horse show”

  1. Patrick Newman

    The Queen (and Mrs May) deserves nothing less than contempt for flattering this tyrant who is a dictator of a country whose human rights are described as “dismal”!

  2. Carol Forsberg

    A shameful decision. Our government and monarch are failing us. A kick in the teeth for the British people, who are also suffering under the most repressive and corrupt regime in living memory.

  3. Tom Sacold

    Why is anyone surprised? The establishment elites sticking together as always.

    Labour should support a republic future for our country.

Leave a Reply