The United Kingdom opposes the use of the death penalty in all countries, in all circumstances. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reiterated this in respect of Bahrain in his written statement of 15 January 2017. The Government of Bahrain are fully aware of our position. We continue to have an open and frank dialogue with Bahrain in public and in private covering a range of issues, including human rights.
Amnesty International, Reprieve and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy have all raised concerns about the use of the death penalty and the routine torture of political opponents by the regime in Bahrain. What assurance can the Minister give that the British Government’s integrated activity fund is not being used to undermine human rights in Bahrain?
Our determined efforts to support reform and change in Bahrain are aimed at improving the conditions that I indicated earlier we keep in constant contact with the authorities in Bahrain about. In relation to the death penalty, we welcome the decision by His Majesty the King on 26 April to commute the death sentences handed down in a recent court case.
Is it true that UK-funded institutions in Bahrain have been responsible for covering up torture allegations regarding death row inmates?
No, I do not believe that that can possibly be the case. If the right hon. Lady would write with the specific detail of an allegation, I will look at it, but I do not believe that it is the case.
Yes, I will. As I indicated earlier, the purpose of our engagement with Bahrain is to deal sometimes with difficult practices that have been there in the past in order to change them and improve them, but I think a specific allegation of British involvement and cover-up would not be right.