Leading Britons hit back at Bahrain critics
Manama, January 15, 2013
Scores of top international British figures, who have lived and worked in the Gulf, have hit back strongly at UK MPs and others who criticise Bahrain's government, a report said.
They have all submitted extensive written testimonials as evidence to a major parliamentary inquiry about to start in the House of Commons, according to the report published in our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News.
Meanwhile, one leading UK MP chairing the inquiry into how London deals with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, has hit back at claims certain evidence has been excluded.
Those who have already submitted contributions to the probe, include former ambassadors, retired military figures, businessmen, existing and former residents and human rights societies.
Best-selling British writer and historian Robert Lacey and former British ambassadors to Bahrain Sir Roger Tomkys, Sir Harold Walker, Sir John Shepherd and Robin Lamb are among some of the high-profile figures participating.
Former British Defence Attache in Riyadh Brigadier Peter Sincock, who was accredited to Bahrain between 1988 and 1991, retired British Army officer Sir Graeme Lamb and former RAF officer Philip Smith have also given evidence.
Other key contributors include the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations and Citizens for Bahrain, a group of anonymous activists who oppose the protest movement, and Shura Council foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
Critical voices such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a UK-based satellite television station have had evidence accepted - despite claims that some people associated with the opposition had been ignored.
Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Richard Ottaway MP strongly denied claims anyone had been excluded and said evidence was still being collected.
"As you will appreciate and as a matter of principle select committees need to take care over what they authorise for publication," he wrote in a letter to human rights campaigner Lord Avebury, published on the UK parliament website.
"Similarly, we would want to take advice before publishing submissions which make allegations which might give rise to libel action were they to be made public rather than in evidence protected under parliamentary privilege.
"Given the considerable interest in the inquiry, the committee agreed on December 18 to publish these as an initial batch, while waiting advice in the remainder, which are less straightforward." No date has been given for the start of oral evidence sessions and the controversial inquiry is expected to run for several months. – TradeArabia News Service