The United States 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.
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, U.S. officials said.
“The safety and security of our diplomatic personnel is our highest priority,” the State Department in Washington said in a statement in response to inquiries from McClatchy. “It is unacceptable that elements within Bahrain would target an individual for carrying out his professional duties.”
Hood’s early departure from Bahrain — five human rights and U.S. officials confirmed that he had not been scheduled to leave Bahrain last week — underscores the serious tensions that have arisen between the U.S. government and Bahrain, the home port of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.