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A court has heard that a Conservative politician displayed “racial animosity” towards an activist by instructing them to “return to Bahrain”.
On December 14 of last year, Bob Stewart, the Member of Parliament for Beckenham in south-east London, got into a heated argument with Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei outside the Foreign Office’s Lancaster House in Westminster. During the altercation, Stewart told Alwadaei to leave and accused him of taking money from their country.
At the Bahraini Embassy event, a 74-year-old individual was confronted by protester Mr Alwadaei who asked, “Bob Stewart, how much did you receive in exchange for supporting the Bahraini regime?”
In a heated argument, Mr. Stewart responded with, “Leave me alone, I dislike you. You’re making a big deal out of nothing. Return to Bahrain.”
During a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, footage was shown of him saying, “Shut up now, you foolish man.”
According to the prosecution by Paul Jarvis, Mr. Alwadaei was left feeling distressed and embarrassed by the events that occurred.
He stated: “Stewart exhibited racial animosity towards Mr Alwadaei through his remarks.”
The prosecutor stated that Stewart’s actions were not driven by racial animosity, but rather that he displayed it.
Mr. Jarvis informed the court that Stewart expressed regret for his comments and acknowledged that he should have ignored the protester. However, Stewart denies that his comments were racist.
Judge Paul Goldspring stated that if Stewart is convicted, his crimes would not result in imprisonment.
An inquiry was initiated by the Metropolitan Police in response to a report filed by Mr. Alwadaei, a human rights activist from the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD). He claims to be living in exile due to torture suffered in the Gulf state.
While giving his testimony, Mr Alwadaei stated that he was utilizing his right to protest by interrogating Stewart and had no intention of disrespecting the MP.
In court, it was alleged that Stewart received funding from Bahrain and was known to support the regime.
The demonstrator also alleged that while visiting the country, Stewart had vocalized “god save the king of Bahrain”.
When questioned about his feelings regarding their interaction last year, Mr Alwadaei expressed that he felt dehumanized and unwelcome in the UK.
He stated, “He believes that because of my skin color and origin, I am taking money away from his country.”
According to Mr Alwadaei, if he were to go back to Bahrain, he would definitely face death and torture.
According to parliamentary records, Stewart recorded expenses of £5,349 for flights, lodging, and meals during a four-day visit to Bahrain in November of last year. The trip was funded by the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to a different record released by the Bahraini government, an additional excursion valued at £1,245.56 was made to attend an air exhibition and hold a meeting with their foreign minister.
The Middle Eastern nation was accused by Mr Alwadaei of being “corrupt” and a violator of human rights.
Stewart, an ex-officer in the British Army, maintained his membership in the Conservative party even though he was accused of a racially motivated public disturbance, which he denies.
The individual also denied any wrongdoing in regards to utilizing language or conduct that could potentially cause fear, unease, or disturbance.
The trial for one day is ongoing.