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Royal Wedding Special No 2: Tyrants on the guest list

The royal wedding is not a state occasion, or so it was claimed to justify the non-inclusion of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Perhaps that is just as well, since Westminster Abbey would have contained many more tyrants if it was. Neverthess the guest list still contains seven “royal” tyrants who are expected to attend in addition to the the Crown Prince of Bahrain whose henchmen have violently suppressed democracy protests but who has decided not to come. These are the royal representatives from the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Swaziland, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Abu Dhabi, whose invitation has been attacked by human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell:

Saudi Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz has been being invited to the royal wedding, despite his country’s invasion, occupation and repression in Bahrain. The invitation by the Queen was approved by the Foreign Secretary William Hague, according to St James’s Palace. This invitation is an insult the many people in Bahrain who have been murdered, arrested jailed and tortured.

Human rights defenders in Bahrain report that 30 civilians have been killed, four people have died in custody after torture and an estimated 1,000 others have been arrested or disappeared. Saudi military forces are helping with this repression.”

All seven royal families preside over severe human rights abuses, such as detention without trial, torture, the denial of free speech, restrictions on press freedom, discrimination against women, oppression of minority faiths, homophobic persecution, ill-treatment of guest workers and the violent suppression of peaceful protests. The seven regimes are backed by western governments, despite their appalling human rights records.

The invitations are a massive misjudgement by the monarch. They show the Queen is out of touch with the humanitarian values of most British people. She’s putting royalty before human rights.

The guest list displays a shocking insensitivity to the suffering of people who have been persecuted by these royal despots. It is an insult to the victims of dictatorship for our royal family to welcome and embrace these oppressors. The invitations should be withdrawn immediately, as a mark of respect for those who have been murdered, arrested, jailed and tortured.

In addition to the royal tyrants is the representatives of at least one other — Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Britain, Gabriel Machinga.

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