Concern Over Bahrain Human Rights Abuse

13 October 2011
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has welcomed EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton's "sensible" statement on Bahrain to the European Parliament last night and hailed the closure of the country's security courts as a positive step in safeguarding the human rights of Bahraini citizens.

Baroness Ashton's statement to the European Parliament follows months of political unrest in Bahrain which has seen many killed and many more unlawfully imprisoned. Alyn is a member of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Arabian Peninsula, grew up in the region and has visited the country often, recently met with the Bahraini Ambassador to Brussels and raised his concerns with him.

The Bahraini authorities have since closed down the "Security Courts" and announced that medical personnel will have their cases and appeals retried in the civilian courts system.

Alyn said:

"I'm impressed with Catherine Ashton's sensible, sober approach and back her style and indeed content.

"Following my Delegation's meeting with Ambassador Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri I was pleased to hear the cases against doctors and nurses accused of tending to the medical needs of those who oppose the regime will be retried in civilian courts. I echo Catherine Ashton's view and expectation that all charges should be dropped.

"I am pleased to see our EU High Representative take a rational approach, which recognises the recent positive steps being taken by the Bahraini government, but also stresses the need for continued progress as the status quo is far from ideal.

"The EU is well placed to offer critical engagement, and as a Member of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula, I will continue to follow the situation closely.

"It remains disappointing that meanwhile the UK Government is distracted by arms deals, having recently invited the Bahraini government to attend an arms fair on London's docklands."