Ebrahim Sharif

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland Office) 12:00 am, 22nd November 2016

What representations his Department has made to the Government of Bahrain on charges brought against Ebrahim Sharif for conducting an interview with Associated Press in November 2016.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I met my counterpart, the Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa, this weekend, and our ambassador in Manama raised the case of Ebrahim Sharif on 16 November. We will continue to monitor the case very carefully indeed.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland Office)

The US State Department has defended freedom of expression and explicitly called for the charges against Ebrahim Sharif to be dropped, whereas the Foreign Office has merely expressed concern. Does the Minister believe that such prevarication will convince the Government of Bahrain to drop those charges?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The hon. Lady touches on a matter on which I feel I am developing a relationship with the Scottish National party. The United Kingdom and the United States have different relationships with Bahrain in terms of the style, the approach and the strategy that we use to influence countries in the Gulf and to advance the democratic process. We have a closer relationship with Bahrain, in which we can have frank conversations. We might not have put out a press statement on this matter—we might not have made the headlines in that sense—but I can assure her that we are having frank conversations with the aim of improving policing, the rule of law and democratic rights. This is happening; the hon. Lady just does not see it all the time.