Bahrain king's son heads for Britain ... again

Sheikh Nasser, the controversial son of the king of Bahrain, is organising an equestrian event in Britain, to be held next May in the grounds of Windsor Castle, Bahrain's government news agency (BNA) reports.

BNA says the event – an "international endurance horse ride" – will take place "on the sidelines" of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which is patronised by Her Majesty the Queen.

Sheikh Nasser is president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee and chairman of the kingdom's Supreme Council for Youth and Sports. There were calls to ban him from the London Olympic last year because of torture allegations (which he denies) but he did attend the opening ceremony.

It is unclear from the BNA's report whether the phrase "on the sidelines" means Sheikh Nasser's equestrian event will be an official part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show or not.

The report says Sheikh Nasser had a meeting in London with the show organisers but, oddly, it doesn't say if anything was agreed at the meeting:

During the meeting, the show organisers presented Shaikh Nasser with details of the programmes and activities ...

Shaikh Nasser affirmed Bahrain's keenness to be part of this wonderful festival, to be held at the private grounds of Windsor Castle and is patronised by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth ...

On his part, Brooks [Simon Brooks, one of the organisers] expressed appreciation to Shaikh Nasser for his efforts in supporting equestrian sports in Bahrain, which had astonishing sporting achievements in the past years thanks to the continued backing of His Majesty King Hamad.

The Bahrain News Agency, as I've pointed out many times before, is notorious for making up quotes from foreigners praising King Hamad and the kingdom's achievements. The latter quote from Brooks sounds suspiciously like another of them.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 21 February 2013.