MP: Sell royal gifts from Bahrain

Jan. 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM

LONDON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- British human rights activists say Queen Elizabeth's youngest son and his wife should return gifts they received during a visit to Bahrain.

Prince Edward and Sophie, countess of Wessex, spent a day in the Middle East country in April. A report on gifts received by the royal family during the year revealed King Hamad al-Khalifa and Prime Minister Sheik Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa presented the countess with two sets of jewelry and her husband with a pen, a silk rug and a watch, The Guardian reported.

At least 40 people are alleged to have been killed during large protests in Bahrain in March and April. This week, a large demonstration was held in Manama in spite of a government ban.

"Given the bloody repression of peaceful protests by the king of Bahrain, the foreign secretary, William Hague, should have never authorized Edward and Sophie to visit the country -- let alone accept these extravagant gifts," Peter Tatchell, an activist who supports the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain, said.

Denis MacShane, a Labor member of Parliament and former minister in the foreign office, told the Daily Mail the royal couple should sell the jewels and donate the proceeds to victims of the government crackdown.

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