One of Amber Lyon's reports from Bahrain for CNN, whom she now accuses of shutting away her award-documentary (see 0735 GMT)
Mr Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (Lab): The Bahraini Government have long claimed their determination to pursue the path of reform and reconciliation, but only yesterday it emerged that the retrial of 20 activists and Opposition figures had resulted in all of them being found guilty, with long sentences and, in the case of eight defendants, life sentences. In light of this, can the Foreign Secretary set out the British Government’s judgment as to whether these were fair trials? More widely, what is his assessment of the Bahraini Government’s commitment to reform and reconciliation?
Mr Hague: I am very disappointed at the Bahraini civil court’s decision to uphold all the sentences of 20 political activists in Bahrain. We welcome the decision to review these cases in a civilian court but we remain very concerned by some of the charges that defendants were convicted of, and I urge the Bahraini Government to ensure that the human rights and freedoms of their citizens are fully upheld at all times. We are aware that the defendants can now appeal to a further court and we hope that this will be conducted thoroughly, with urgency and with due legal process. That will be one of the tests of the Bahraini Government’s commitment to reform.
Whilst the question was likely prompted by Tuesday's verdict in the trial of 20 activist, its timing also suggests the possibility that Labour may be seeking to make a wider issue of the British Government's controversial support for Bahrain. Up to now, Labour MPs like Jeremy Corbyn and Dennis MacShane have been vocal critics of the Bahrain regime, buut the leadership has been comparatively quiet. Alexander and Labour leader Ed Miliband were last vocal in April, when they both called for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain to be cancelled.