British royal urged to sell jewellery gift from Bahrain
Jan 7, 2012, 15:00 GMT
London - Britain's Countess of Wessex was urged Saturday to sell a gift of jewellery from the Bahraini monarch, and give the proceeds to the victims of the security clampdown in the Gulf state.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to the queen's son Prince Edward, visited Bahrain in December. She received two sets of jewels from King Hamad Al-Khalifa.
Now a British former foreign office minister, Denis MacShane, has urged her to reconsider the gift, in the light of the bloody repression of pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.
He told the Daily Mail: 'Given the appalling suffering and repression of the Bahraini people, it would be a fitting gesture for the Countess of Wessex to auction these trinkets and distribute the proceeds to the victims of the regime.'
An independent commission in Bahrain said in November that security forces had used excessive force in a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, killing at least 40 in the Gulf state, whose minority Sunni monarchy rules the Shiite majority.
In the wake of the violence, the crown prince of Bahrain pulled out of attending the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's April wedding.
Official gifts are not the personal property of the royal family but go into the official royal collection.
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