US denies reports it pulled diplomat under threat from Bahrain

June 2, 2011

Ludovic Hood - AFP

The US State Department has denied claims that the recall of one of its diplomats to Washington was due to threats.

On Tuesday, McClatchy Newspapers reported that the US “pulled its human rights officer from Bahrain last week after he’d become the subject of a weeks-long campaign of ethnic slurs and thinly veiled threats on a pro-government website and in officially sanctioned newspapers.”

According to the report, quoting unidentified US officials, “Ludovic Hood left the island nation on Thursday. During his final days in Bahrain, Hood was given security protection equal to that of an ambassador.”

However, Mark C. Toner, the Deputy State Department Spokesman, on Tuesday said that Ludovic was not “brought back here because of these accusations or allegations” and that he had just completed his tour in Manama and returned to Washington.

“He’s taken up a position here within the State Department. So he wasn’t recalled in his posting,” he told reporters at the daily press briefing. “As you know, our assignment cycle has already been set for, like, the last six months or so.

That said, we are aware, as press reports have cited, that there were threats, accusations made against him on some websites, and obviously we take the safety of our diplomatic personnel very seriously. But, in this case he was simply transferred back to Washington.”

Toner denounced the allegations against Hood, but rejected reports that they were media by pro-government people or media. “We have no way to confirm that they were actually made by the government or people within the Government of Bahrain,” Toner said.

“I’m aware that they were on these websites. But it’s unacceptable that any elements there would target an individual, a diplomat, for carrying out his duties,” he said. Harry Edwards, a press officer at the State Department, was quoted as saying that Hood’s departure and return to Washington had been in the works for several months and was not due to the threats. “Ludovic Hood’s departure from Bahrain was routine,” Edwards said.

“He was not recalled to Washington, his posting was approved here more than six months ago as part of a normal assignment,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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