October 7, 2014 / 10:37 AM / 4 years ago

Bahrain prince does not enjoy immunity over torture claims, UK court rules

Commander of Bahrain's Royal Guard Colonial Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa speaks to journalists after a close session meeting at the IISS Regional Security Summit - The Manama Dialogue after his speech in Manama, December 8, 2013. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

LONDON (Reuters) - A British court ruled on Tuesday that Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has been accused of torturing detainees in Bahrain, does not enjoy immunity from prosecution in Britain.

A Bahraini citizen, known only as FF, had sought the arrest of the son of Bahrain’s king following allegations that he was directly involved in the torture of three prisoners in Bahrain during a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

FF, who says he himself was tortured, was granted refugee status and now lives in Britain. He was challenging a 2012 ruling by Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that the prince enjoys immunity from prosecution in Britain because of his royal status.

Prince Nasser is a regular visitor to England and has met members of the British royal family. FF had instructed a firm of London lawyers to write to the CPS asking for him to be arrested whilst on a visit to the UK.

After Tuesday’s High Court ruling, lawyers for FF said they would provide evidence against the prince to London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

The Bahraini government has previously issued a statement in which it “refutes in the strongest possible terms the factual basis for the underlying allegations which it maintains are unfounded, false and politically motivated.”

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Stephen Addison

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