A judicial review has been granted challenging the prosecution service’s decision to allow the son of Bahrain’s ruler immunity in the UK over torture allegations.
The High Court has granted permission for the judicial review to proceed in The Queen on the application of FF v Director of Public Prosecutions.
The case as to whether Prince Nasser bin Hamid Al Khalifa should be granted immunity - which was given because of his status as a foreign official - is expected to be heard in October.
Last week Lord Justice Moses confirmed that reporting restrictions had been lifted because the prince did not apply for the order to be continued.
The alleged torture victim, known as ‘FF’, is represented by civil rights solicitors Deighton Pierce Glynn, which is instructing barristers Dinah Rose QC and Tom Hickman of Blackstone Chambers and Kirsty Brimelow QC of Doughty Street Chambers.
FF alleges that Prince Nasser was involved in the torture of detained prisoners during the pro-democracy uprising of 2011.
In August 2012 Deighton Pierce Glynn wrote to the CPS asking for the prince to be arrested and prosecuted while he was visiting the UK.
The CPS replied stating that the prince had immunity from arrest and prosecution on the basis that he was a member of the royal family and a government official. FF applied for a judicial review of the DPP’s decision on 26 October 2012.
Sue Willman, solicitor at Deighton Pierce Glynn, said that if successful the action could set a precedent for the application of universal jurisdiction – which allows courts to prosecute individuals outside their territory for crimes against humanity.
She said: ‘[If successful] it would clarify when a state official can be subjected to investigative prosecution in the UK for crimes of universal jurisdiction.’
A statement from the Bahraini embassy in London said: ‘This case questions the technical legal grounds of an English prosecutorial decision. Bahrain is not a party to the case and therefore it would be inappropriate for it to comment. As for the underlying factual allegations, which are not at issue in this case, Bahrain considers them to be both false and politically motivated.’