Bahrain king accepts UK queen's jubilee invite

Rights groups have called for British monarch to withdraw invitation to Bahrain ruler
Bahrain king accepts UK queen's jubilee invite
King Hamad Al-Khalifa, the King of Bahrain. (Getty Images)
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Mon 30 Apr 2012 11:43 AM

The King of Bahrain has accepted the Queen Elizabeth II’s invite to her Diamond Jubilee lunch at Windsor Castle, which could spark political embarrassment, the UK’s Daily Mail has reported.

Reports say the decision will fuel human rights groups and some MPs who are outraged by the King’s bloody crackdown on protesters in his own country and believe he should never have been invited.

Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will also attend a champagne dinner hosted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in the evening, the newspaper said.

News of the King’s place on the guest list emerged last month, along with reports that the Queen felt obliged to invite heads of state from around the world.

Many hoped the Bahrain ruler would refuse the invitation to avoid causing a stir, however, sources have since confirmed his acceptance.

Bahrain has seen more than a year of anti-government protests on the streets, as the country’s Shiaa majority continues to try and overthrow the autocratic Sunni-ruling family.

The island Gulf state has attracted international condemnation for its response to the civil unrest, which has involved firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators.

More than 40 Bahraini residents have been killed during the clashes, and thousands arrested.

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