10/08/2014, 00.00
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UK rules Bahraini prince can be prosecuted for torture

The High Court in London lifts the diplomatic immunity of Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, 27. Accused of participating in the torture of prisoners during pro-democracy unrest in 2011, he is a horseracing aficionado who considers Britain a "second home."

Manama (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The High Court in London ruled on Tuesday that Bahrain's Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa does not have legal immunity from prosecution following a review requested by a Bahraini torture survivor.

"It's a victory for the people of Bahrain," said Sayed Al-Wadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy campaign group.

Judges overturned a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which had established that the prince could not be prosecuted because he had immunity.

Prince Nasser, 27, will not be immediately arrested, but the court's ruling will allow British police to launch an investigation against him.

Well-informed sources say that the prince considers the UK as his "second home" and spends considerable time in the country to satisfy his passion for horseracing.

The case began in 2012, when the CPS received a file accusing Prince Nasser of participating in the torture of prisoners during pro-democracy unrest in Bahrain in 2011.

At the time, the prince was in the British capital for the London Olympics. Human rights groups filed a case for his arrest, but the CPS's ruling allowed Nasser to return to the kingdom.

The survivor's identity was kept secret in the High Court proceedings for security reasons.

The International Federation for Human Rights hailed the ruling by the High Court in London as "a major breakthrough" and criticised French authorities for failing to respond to a similar complaint filed in France in August when the prince visited Paris.

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