Human rights record in Bahrain still abysmal - Europe must act
When European Union ministers meet their counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council states for a summit in Bahrain on June 30, the dismal state of that island kingdom's human rights record needs to have a prominent place on the agenda. Despite King Hamad's claims of reform, Bahrain is clearly heading down the road of greater repression and the EU ministers should make a point of clearly and publicly saying so.
For starters, Europe should call for the release of political prisoners – among them three with EU citizenship – who languish in jail, some serving life terms, for crimes such as 'possessing political leaflets', 'participating in illegal demonstrations' and calling for a constitutional monarchy. Bahrain's claim that it has released all those jailed solely for speech offenses is a blatant lie.