Summary: UK court rules that Bahraini prince is not immune to prosecution for his alleged role in torture of prisoners

7th October 2014:The British High Court has today ruled that Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain is not immune from prosecution for his alleged involvement in the torture of political prisoners.

Prince Nasser is the son of the King of Bahrain and regularly visits the UK, where his three children were born. As chair of Bahrain’s Olympic Committee, he represented Bahrain at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. At that time, SRT grantees the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights called on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to block the Prince’s entry into the country. They sent the FCO and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) a dossier summarising publicly available information, including witness statements from Bahraini opposition members, about allegations of torture.

A Bahraini refugee in the UK known as “FF”, who had himself been detained and tortured, instructed his solicitors to write to the CPS asking for the Prince to be arrested and prosecuted while he was here for the Olympics. However the CPS replied stating that the Prince had immunity from arrest and prosecution. FF applied for a judicial review of this decision on 26 October 2012. The case was due to be contested in court on 7th October 2014, when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrew the decision that the prince was immune.

FF’s solicitor, Sue Willman of Deighton Pierce Glynn, said, “The UK has a duty under the Convention against Torture and under its own laws to investigate, arrest and prosecute those who are alleged to have committed acts of torture abroad. They should be applied to all, regardless of the UK’s economic interests.”

Andreas Schueller, ECCHR’s legal advisor, said “The DPP’s decision on immunity was contrary to international law. The UK must not avoid diplomatically sensitive investigations and must now consider launching a serious investigation.”

Full story from ECCHR’s website:

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