UK: Queen invites Bahraini king to Jubilee banquet
The UK Queen has invited one of the world’s most tyranical rulers, the King of Bahrain, to her upcoming Diamond Jubilee banquet irrespective of widespread criticism of his repressive regime.
Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s regime is accused of killing and torturing civilians during more than one year of pro-democracy demonstrations in the tiny Persian Gulf island nation.
Sheikh Hamad is on the guest list for a lunch hosted by the Queen in May at Windsor Castle. He is also thought to be among those invited to a champagne dinner given by Prince Charles the same evening at Buckingham Palace. The event will be an intimate gathering of reigning monarchs from around the world.
The invitations will infuriate human rights campaigners and members of parliament (MPs) angry at the regime’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.
The Bahraini regime is accused of using brutal force and torture to crush the protests, which saw more than 50 civilians killed and thousands arrested. Bahrain’s royal family has direct control of the police, army and security services.
It is believed the elderly King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, has declined the invitation but is sending the crown prince in his place.
The Saudi Arabian royal family has also been criticised for human-rights abuses, as has another invitee, the King of Swaziland, Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch.
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