The MP for Beckenham has also spoken in defence of the regime in Parliament, this despite the fact that according to Human Rights Watch, the Bahraini government has engaged in heavy repression.
Tory MP Bob Stewart, who was recently filmed telling a Bahraini dissident who was imprisoned and tortured for his human rights activism in the country to ‘go back to Bahrain’, has much deeper links to the authoritarian rulers of the country than many realise.
Stewart, who once declared “God save the King of Bahrain” during a speech, received at least £10,000 worth of hospitality and travel from the country’s rulers, The Independent has previously reported.
The MP for Beckenham has also spoken in defence of the regime in Parliament, this despite the fact that according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) the Bahraini government has engaged in heavy repression, including the arrest and torture of children during the 2011 pro-democracy uprisings in the country.
HRW further states: “All independent Bahraini media have been banned since 2017 from operating in the country and all opposition groups dissolved. In 2021, three detainees died in Bahraini prisons amid allegations of medical negligence. There are 26 individuals currently on death row, all of whom are at imminent risk of execution.
“The government has put six people to death since it ended a moratorium on executions in 2017. Authorities arrested, prosecuted, and harassed human rights defenders, journalists, and opposition leaders, including for their social media activity.”
Nonetheless, in November this year, Stewart praised the Bahraini government while visiting the country, saying that it had done a very good job in changing the way it looks after its citizens.
Praising the autocratic government, he said: “I can say this now, as a British [citizen]: God save the King of England, and God save the King of Bahrain!”
The Independent reported that Stewart was in the country ahead of its elections, which were internationally condemned as a sham. Amnesty International also says that the country has tightened restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
Basit Mahmood is editor Left Foot Forward