British Queen celebrates


The UK Home Office has issued an apology to a human rights activist who was detained by the Border Force at Gatwick Airport.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadei, known for his advocacy for human rights in Bahrain, was held for two and a half hours in September 2023 upon returning from Geneva. Despite having indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a refugee, Mr. Alwadei was informed by Home Office lawyers that his detention was unlawful.

While the Home Office refrained from commenting on specific cases, Mr. Alwadei revealed that he was stopped by border officials following a visit to United Nations representatives to discuss human rights issues in Bahrain. This incident followed a previous detention in South Africa the month before.

An apology addressed to Mr. Alwadei's legal representatives acknowledged the wrongful detention, stating, "The home secretary has reviewed his records and accepts that your client was unlawfully detained. Your client's immigration records have been checked and the records updated to make sure this does not happen in the future. The secretary of state is unable to discern what powers were purported to be exercised."

Mr. Alwadei, who had previously filed a racism complaint against former Conservative MP Bob Stewart, believed that delays in his interactions with the UK government, including his citizenship application, were linked to the airport detentions. He suggested a connection to a deal signed between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the crown prince of Bahrain in the preceding year.

Expressing concern over the potential personal ramifications, Mr. Alwadei stated, "I have been a very critical voice in relation to exposing human rights violations in Bahrain. I believe this is coming at a personal cost."

While the Home Office declined to discuss individual cases, emphasizing the priority of border security, Mr. Alwadei's legal representatives disclosed that he had been offered compensation for his detention, though the final amount was yet to be determined. Photo by Hunter Desportes, Wikimedia commons.