UK trained hundreds of guards working at Bahrain’s death row jail: Report
The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded training for hundreds of prison guards working at Bahrain's death row jail, according to a new report by Reprieve, an anti-death penalty charity.
The group also said that at least one innocent man faces imminent execution after being tortured into making a false confession.
A news release by Reprieve said: “Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas (NI-CO), a state-owned Belfast business, received almost a million pounds in UK taxpayer money last year for work with Bahrain’s interior ministry.
"In 2015 more than a dozen NI-CO experts worked with Bahrain’s prison staff at jails where systematic torture took place, and trained as many as 400 guards who work at Jau, which holds prisoners awaiting execution.
“NI-CO is embedded in Bahrain’s internal security apparatus, raising concerns about conflicts of interest.
"A victim could be abused by NI-CO trained police, tortured in prison by NI-CO trained guards, and then have their torture allegation investigated and dismissed by the NI-CO trained ombudsman".
Harriet McCulloch, deputy director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “UK money is complicit in covering up torture in Bahrain. The Foreign Office needs to come clean about what it has paid NI-CO to do with a repressive regime like Bahrain”.
The report also highlighted NI-CO’s work with other repressive regimes, such as a €9m project in Egypt funded by the EU.
Reprieve has called on NI-CO to stop working with Bahrain’s Interior Ministry until the Gulf country “ratifies international laws against torture and allows independent UN inspections”.