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UK government using taxpayer money to fund Bahraini body accused of covering up torture and rape

Exclusive: UK government’s ‘secretive’ multi-million-pound support for Gulf countries includes funding for controversial body, writes Maya Oppenheim

Saturday 21 August 2021 12:49 BST
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Najah Yusuf, who was jailed after criticising Formula One, ‘considered suicide’ after rape and abuse by authorities
Najah Yusuf, who was jailed after criticising Formula One, ‘considered suicide’ after rape and abuse by authorities (Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy)

The UK government has been using British taxpayers’ money to fund a Bahraini government institution accused of “whitewashing” the torture and rape of women’s rights activists, The Independent can reveal.

Freedom of information requests show the British government’s “secretive” multi-million-pound support for nations in the Gulf region includes funding for a highly controversial body alleged to have covered up evidence of the rape and torture of two female activists in 2017.

Najah Yusuf and Ebtisam Al-Saegh, the two campaigners who allege they were sexually assaulted by the Bahraini authorities, have now hit out at the UK government for funding the human rights investigatory institution in Bahrain, known as the National Intelligence Agency Ombudsman.

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