A Foreign Office minister has been accused of “covering up” an alleged case of torture in the state of Bahrain, a key Middle Eastern ally whose prisons system has received millions of pounds worth of support from Britain.

The statements by MP Tobias Ellwood concern the case of Mohammed Ramadan, a 32-year-old airport policeman who was arrested for involvement in the killing of a police officer in February 2014 and subsequently sentenced to death. Activists say he confessed falsely to the crime after being tortured.

On 19 April this year, Ellwood submitted an answer to the House of Commons in which he said British embassy officials had been in direct contact with Bahrain’s prison ombudsman and that the watchdog, which is part of a programme that receives £2 million worth of support from the Foreign Office, had told his department there had been “no allegations of mistreatment or torture” in relation with the case.

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