Bahraini prince in controversial Oxford visit

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A Bahraini Prince who is currently under investigation for torture visited the University last week.

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa – a member of the Bahraini royal family – took a tour of the University’s Iffley Sports Centre amid reports that he is in the process of applying to the University.

Prince Nasser allegedly met with officials at Wadham College to discuss his application to join the University as a student, although this is unconfirmed.

A keen sportsman and the head of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, Nasser was then given a tour of the sports grounds by the Oxford Sports Federation President and other students, who presented him with a gift.

Prince Nasser has been accused of being involved in the torture of Bahraini athletes who participated in a pro-democracy protest in 2011.

The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) have presented the UK government with a dossier on Nasser’s involvement in these abuses.

Rose Brewin, head of Oxford’s Amnesty International branch, said: “Torture is barbaric, inhuman and never justified. If the allegations of direct involvement in the torture are true, then Prince Nasser should undoubtedly face severe consequences. However, we must uphold the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and allow the legal process to take place, before we make our own judgements.”

An Oxford University spokesperson responded to questions regarding Prince Nasser’s meeting with Oxford officials, stating: “Applications for all Oxford courses are always treated in confidence.”

Amid allegations of human rights abuses, the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that the Bahraini royal had diplomatic immunity. The ruling has been challenged by an anonymous Bahraini citizen, living in the UK.

One third-year Classicist at Univ said: “I’m not at all sure why the University is being so quiet about all of this.  It brings a great deal of shame on our institution when we are seen to open our doors to suspected perpetrators of crimes against humanity”.

Oxford University did not comment on whether the University will wait on the result of this case before making a decision on Prince Nasser’s alleged application.

 

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