Gulf state to seek extradition treaty with UK after sentencing 14 ‘terrorists’ in absentia
Bahrain is likely to pursue an extradition treaty with the UK amid claims the European country is harbouring Bahraini “terrorists”.
The Gulf state on Sunday convicted 50 nationals of being a member of a terror organisation. Fourteen, including the alleged mastermind, were convicted in absentia and are believed to be living in the UK.
Bahraini authorities have accused the UK of deliberately harbouring the men under the guise of being asylum seekers who claim their human rights are abused in Bahrain.
The Bahrain Parliament's human rights committee chairman Abdul Hakim Al Shammari called for the men in exile to be held accountable.
"I would like to send a message to all those so-called opposition and human rights leaders in London that their time is running out," he was quoted as saying by Gulf Daily News.
"After the National Assembly's recommendations in July to fight terrorism, I can say all measures are being taken by the Bahrain government to bring these people back here as per international standards."
He said Sunday's court verdict should convince UK authorities to cooperate in Bahrain’s efforts to have the men returned.
"The court verdict is a message to all these leaders and the UK government that they are terrorists and cannot be tolerated," Al Shammari said.
"We expected the UK to stop harbouring these terrorists, who are supported by the Iranian regime.
"They should be stripped of their foreign nationalities and handed over to Bahrain immediately after the recent court verdict."
He claimed Bahraini fugitives abroad were hiding behind human rights to promote their agenda.
"For years, they have been playing these games designed to destabilise Bahrain," he added.
The British Embassy in Bahrain has long argued that UK authorities would only take action based on evidence.
However, a former British diplomat in Saudi Arabia has accused some Bahrainis in the UK of abusing Britain's asylum system.
"Those few members of the opposition who did not take advantage of His Majesty's generous offer to return to Bahrain continue to abuse the conditions of the UK asylum granted to them," former defence attache at the British Embassy in Saudi Arabia, Brigadier Peter Sincock, told the GDN.
"However, they are less vocal than they used to be and most UK citizens who follow events in Bahrain are paying lesser attention."
The UAE is the only Gulf state that has an extradition treaty with the UK.