Monday Jan 09, 201204:28 PM GMT
Monarchy refuses to return tainted gems
Mon Jan 9, 2012 4:27PM
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Buckingham Palace has rejected to hand back the lavish jewels given to the Countess of Wessex by Bahraini brutal regime, despite rising criticism over the acceptance of the gifts.

Wife of Prince Edward, Sophie, accepted two sets of jewels from Bahrain royal family during an official visit by the royal couple to the kingdom in December, while the regime has been condemned for launching brutal crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters.

Several British politicians voiced their opposition at the acceptance of the priceless gifts by the Countess, calling on the royal family to give back the “tainted” gifts to the bloody regime.

While condemning the royal family's close links with many suppressive rulers and despot regimes in the Middle East, anti-monarchy activists called on the Countess to sell the gems and give the cash to the pro-democracy protesters fighting against the regime in the country.

However, a Buckingham palace spokesman said on Monday that the extremely valuable jewels given “by the ruling family of Bahrain had been accepted as an official gift.” Adding, as far as the Countess was given the gifts during her public duties as the Queen's representative, she was allowed to keep the gems on behalf of the Crown.

The hugely precious gifts were given to the Countess during an extravagant banquet at the palace of king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on December 21. Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex was also given a valuable silk rug, pen and watch.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds of pro-democracy protesters arrested by the Al Khalifa regime since the beginning of the popular uprising in Bahrain in February 2011.

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