In Britain's House of Commons December 20, Members of Parliament made an urgent plea to the Government to grant asylum to three political prisoners, from Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf, who had been detained on St.
CU Left to right: Abdul Rahman Al Bakir, Abdul Aziz Shamlan and Abdul Ali Alaiwat pose for camera. (2 shots).
GV Group overlooking island.
GV Group descending from mountain.
GV Group on to pebble beach at end of a 2-mile walk
CU Group conversing (two shots).
GV Cameraman John Tunstall walks forward and bids group farewell.
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Background: In Britain's House of Commons December 20, Members of Parliament made an urgent plea to the Government to grant asylum to three political prisoners, from Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf, who had been detained on St. Helena Island - where Napoleon was exiled 143 years ago - since November 1956.
They were taken to this remote island by a British warship after being sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by a Bahrain court for plotting the assassination of the 64-year-old Sheik of Bahrain - Sulman bin Hamad Al Khalifah - and his British adviser, Sir Charles Belgrave. The Sheik has now requested that the prisoners be returned to Bahrain.
Exclusive film taken by 44-year-old British film producer John Tunstall on rocky St. Helena in 1957, shows him with the three Arab citizens; Abdul Rahman Al Bakir, Abdul Aziz Shamlan and Abdul Ali Alaiwat. Mr Tunstall, who was making a film for the French Government on the island, did all in his power at the time to assist the prisoners in their bid for retrial in an English court.
Bahrain is not a British colony but is under British protection. But following their conviction for an assassination plot - many people thought they did nothing more than agitate for constitutional reforms - the Sheik asked the British Government if the prisoners could be detained on St. Helena.
This was agreed to under the British Colonial Prisoners Removal Act of 1869. As Bahrain is not a colony, a special Order was made extending the Act to that territory. This order however was not published in Bahrain until 2 days after the 3 men had left for British St. Helena.
The British Government gave an assurance to an angry House of Commons that no immediate decision would be taken to return the men. This assurance followed strong views expressed from both parties that no one would wish to return the prisoners into the custody of the Ruler of Bahrain. It was said that they would probably have their "heads chopped off" if they went back.