Sayed Alwadaei claims the MP told him to ‘get stuffed’ and ‘go back to Bahrain’.
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Conservative MP Bob Stewart is being investigated after being accused of racially abusing a Bahraini rights activist.
Sayed Alwadaei, who had fled his native country in 2012 after being jailed and tortured for taking part in pro-democracy protests, complained to the Met Police that Stewart told him to “get stuffed” and “go back to Bahrain”.
The alleged incident took place outside a reception hosted by the Bahraini embassy in central London last Wednesday to mark the Middle-Eastern country’s national day.
Alwadaei, who is the director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), questioned Stewart about a trip sponsored by Bahrain’s government by saying, “how much did you sell yourself to the Bahraini regime?”
In a videotape, the MP is heard retorting: “Get stuffed. Bahrain’s a great place. End of.”
In response to another comment from the activist, Stewart, 73, can be heard saying: “Go away, I hate you” and “Go back to Bahrain”.
As the heated exchange went on, the MP tells Alwadaei: “Now you shut up you stupid man.”
Asked if he had received any money from Bahrain’s government, he says: “You’re taking money off my country, go away.”
Scotland Yard said the force received a complaint from a man who alleged he had been “verbally racially abused” outside the Foreign Office’s Lancaster House on December 15.
Westminster Criminal Investigation Department’s officers are investigating the claims, the force confirmed.
Stewart, a former army officer who had served in Bosnia and Bahrain, apologised for his remarks which he said were in response to provocations from Alwadaei.
He said the persistent taunts that he had taken money from Bahrain “deeply offended” him.
“I admit I fell for the taunts and should not have responded which I regret,” the MP for Beckenham since 2010 said but denied he was being racist.
Alwadaei, who regularly protests during events hosted by Bahrain officials in the UK, said Stewart was trying to blame him for “his own inexcusable behaviour”.
“Being on the receiving end of his abusive comments, ‘I hate you’ and ‘go back to Bahrain’, is hard to describe”, he told the Guardian.
He said he reported the incident to Scotland Yard “as a racially motivated hate crime.”