European Parliament human rights delegation 'denied entry to Bahrain'

European Parliament human rights delegation 'denied entry to Bahrain'
The head of the Subcommittee of Human Rights from the European Parliament revealed Bahraini authorities denied his delegation from visiting the kingdom on Thursday.
2 min read
27 April, 2018
Authorities have been widely criticised for the kingdom's treatment of protesters [Getty]
Bahrain refused to receive a rights delegation attempting to assess its human rights situation, according to the head of the Subcommittee of Human Rights from the European Parliament. 

The Gulf state denied access to the delegation after it had requested to visit to review its human rights record, Antonio Panzeri revealed.

"I regret to inform you that the Kingdom of Bahrain has refused our request to visit a delegation of the European Parliament,” Panzeri said at a meeting at the European Parliament on Thursday.

Bahrain's government has rolled out a brutal crackdown on opposition in the country, following popular protests in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

Many of the demonstrators were part of Bahrain's disenfranchised Shia majority who continue to demand reforms and respect for human rights. 

Human rights organisations repeatedly accuse the oil-rich Gulf country of suppressing all forms of opposition. Earlier this week, Bahrain said it would "hunt down" online dissidents, including those abroad.

Earlier this month, a Danish Social Democrat lawmaker was denied entry to Bahrain where he planned to meet a jailed leading human rights activist, Copenhagen and an NGO confirmed.

MP Lars Aslan Rasmussen has been denied entry into Bahrain," Danish undersecretary for consular affairs, Rene Dinesen, said in a statement. 

Aslan Rasmussen spent several hours at Bahrain International Airport in Manama and then tweeted he had been thrown out in the late afternoon after first having his passport confiscated.

Accompanied by Brian Dooley, an Irish activist at the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Aslan Rasmussen was seeking to protest against the detention of Danish-Bahraini citizen Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who in 2011 was sentenced to life for conspiring against the nation's monarchy in the wake of protests. 

"The dictatorship in Bahrain has held me for five hours now and the police have taken my passport," Aslan Rasmussen tweeted. 

"It's obviously too dangerous for a Danish MP to visit another Danish citizen in prison. What are they hiding?" he added. 

GCHR, which was founded by Khawaja, said Dooley was also denied entry into Bahrain.

In a Facebook post including a picture of himself and Dooley holding a photo of the activist with the inscription "Free Abdulhadi", Lars Rasmussen said the detainee was "seriously ill". 

"We are here to pressure the authorities and to show that we will not forget Khawaja," he said. 

The two attempted to visit Khawaja on his 57th birthday.