THE BLOG

Open Letter to the Queen - Don't Receive King Hamed at Royal Windsor Horse Show

18/05/2015 12:17 BST | Updated 15/05/2016 10:59 BST

2015-05-15-1431701462-5065345-KingandQueen21.png

Queen Elizabeth II and King at the Royal Windsor, 2013

Your Majesty,

I understand that King Hamad of Bahrain will be welcomed at the Royal Windsor Horse Show again this Thursday. On the same day, Bahrain's leading human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab, lost his appeal against a six-month sentence for free-speech charges. On that basis, I am writing to ask you to consider revoking your annual invitation to the man whose government is accused of the killing of peaceful protesters and bystanders in Bahrain and whose government has silenced peaceful critics with imprisonment and torture. For these reasons, I urgently ask that Your Majesty reconsiders showing this man and his family hospitality and friendship.

I came to the UK an asylum seeker in 2012, after I was imprisoned, beaten and tortured in Bahrain for giving interviews to the media the year before. I fled one kingdom without respect for free speech and civil rights and found refuge in one that does. I thought I was safe, as the King's government would not be able to arrest or torture me again.

In 2013, I came to the Royal Windsor Horse Show carrying the flag of Bahrain and peacefully protested the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.

In January of this year, Bahrain's Ministry of Interior revoked my citizenship and made me stateless. They did not take it through the law courts, they did not inform me, and there is no way for me to appeal the decision. I strongly believe that my citizenship was stripped on account of my legitimate and peaceful protest at the horse show two years ago.

The largest protest movement in Bahrain's history occurred under King Hamad's rule. Hundreds of thousands of protesters in a country of 600,000 citizens marched onto the streets and called for him to step down, to allow democracy to flourish. He only kept his seat with violence and brutality.

It is also my understanding that King Hamad's son, Prince Nasser, will again be in attendance at Windsor this weekend. In October last year, the High Court in London quashed his diplomatic immunity which he had attempted to invoke in order to prevent his prosecution on credible allegations of torture.

Your Majesty, as someone who has suffered at the hands of these men and who campaigns on behalf of many thousands of others who languish in their jails or live under the cosh of their brutal security forces, I respectfully urge you to reconsider associating with King Hamad, as his government is engaged in daily repression against peaceful protesters calling for democracy in Bahrain. The King and his sons must understand their actions cannot be tolerated by Your Majesty. Their presence at Royal Windsor this weekend besmirches a wonderful event of which you are rightly proud.

Yours Sincerely,

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei