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Bahrain — [Siobhain McDonagh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:46 am on 11th September 2018.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 10:46 am, 11th September 2018

We publish what we can, and what it is appropriate to publish. We try to be as transparent as possible in official publications, and we will continue to do that. Not everything is publishable, but we will publish as much as we can to give a clear impression of what is happening. We will, as always, continue to look at whether there are ways to strengthen such publication.

Earlier, I mentioned Bahrain’s new legislation related to alternative sentencing. The Bahraini system has already started to implement provisions under this new legal framework, and it would be unfair for me not to deal with some of the individual cases that have been mentioned.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British embassy in Bahrain have closely followed the case of Mr Hassan Mushaima, and have raised it with the Government of Bahrain. We continue to encourage anyone with concerns about treatment in detention to report them to the appropriate oversight body, and we also encourage the oversight bodies to carry out swift and thorough investigations into such claims. The Government of Bahrain have released a detailed public statement regarding the access to healthcare that Mr Mushaima has received since he has been in detention, and we have received categorical assurances that, in his case and others, there is and has been access to appropriate medical care while in detention.

I expressed my concerns about the sentence given to Mr Nabeel Rajab on 21 February, and reiterated the UK’s call to protect freedom of expression for all its citizens. We have closely monitored the trials of Mr Rajab. Officials from the embassy regularly attend Mr Rajab’s court hearings, including the handing down of the latest appeal verdict. There is now an opportunity for Mr Rajab’s legal team to apply for an appeal through the judicial system, and our officials will continue to monitor the case closely.

The British embassy and the FCO continue to monitor the cases of the family members of Mr Sayed Alwadaei. We have raised those cases with the Government of Bahrain, and should we have further concerns, we will do so again as part of our continuing dialogue. We welcome the investigation and recommendations of the Special Investigations Unit in relation to Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa, and the subsequent decision of the Minister of Justice to refer those cases back to the Court of Cassation for retrial.

In conclusion, Ms, ah, McDonagh—sorry, it is age—