No Formula 1 in dictatorial Bahrain, activists say


This video is called Bahrain capital of torture.

From ANSA news agency in Italy:

Suspend Bahrain Formula 1 say human rights NGOs

NGOs call for urgent visit by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

05 March, 16:14

ROME, MARCH 5 – Human rights NGOs on January 14 urged the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to suspend the 2014 Formula One Grand Prix scheduled from April 4-6 in Bahrain, where a Sunni minority rules a Shiite majority with an iron fist.

The decision to hold the Formula One Grand Prix in the monarchy has provided the Bahraini government with ”the pretext to increase its systematic crackdown on protesters, journalists and human rights defenders.

As such, FIA bears “a unique ethical and moral responsibility to safeguard the integrity and reputation of motor sport worldwide by cancelling the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix until such abuses cease to exist”, human rights activists said.

Activists pointed to the direct correlation between intensified crackdowns on civilians and protesters during previous Formula One events in the country, with restrictive measures such as enclosing entire villages in barbed wire, setting up an excessive amount of police checkpoints, firing tear gas into residential areas, and jailing protesters.

In 2012, security forces killed protester Salah Abbas Habib on the first day of the Bahrain Grand Prix. There are currently more than 3,000 political prisoners behind bars in Bahrain, and there is no indication that such measures will not be used again during the 2014 Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, according to the NGOs.

The letter to FIA President Jean Todt was signed by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Bahrain Institutes for Rights and Democracy, Bahrain Watch, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, and the European Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights.

FIA has yet to reply, human rights activists said, adding that in addition to targeting protesters, the Bahraini government’s restriction on free speech has led to the ongoing practice of denying journalists access to the country.

Journalists denied access to or deported from Bahrain during the Grand Prix include a news crew from UK Channel 4, who were deported in 2012, and an ITN news team, who were deported in 2013.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is presided by Nabeel Rajab, who has been in prison since July 9, 2012. He is serving a two-year sentence for protesting the government’s human rights violations, according to the NGO’s website.

It is also presided by Maryam al-Khawaja, whose father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has been sentenced to life in prison and who carried out a long hunger strike during the 2012 Formula One.

The 2011 Formula One was cancelled due to Arab Spring protests in Bahrain, which saw the Shiite majority demand more democratic rights, and which was quelled in blood with the help of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) troops.

Three years after that bloody crackdown and the repression of dissent that followed, the same NGOs on March 4 called on the international community to pressure Bahrain to grant the right to self-determination, the right to protest peacefully, and freedom of expression.

The human rights activists also asked for a UN-supervised independent commission of inquiry into suspicious deaths that have occurred since 2011, and called on the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to urgently visit the country. The call follows on the death in police custody of a protester, Jaffar al-Durazi, in the village of Daih, on the outskirts of Manama, which was followed by a March 3 bomb attack that killed an Emirati officer and two policemen during clashes between security forces and Shiite protesters, according to media reports.

The government responded by arresting 25 people and announcing it will give no quarter in its fight against terrorism. ”We do not justify violence under any circumstance, but we believe no form of violence justifies further violations of human rights”, the NGOs said in their appeal.

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7 thoughts on “No Formula 1 in dictatorial Bahrain, activists say

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