(AP) MANAMA, 22 April 2012
Bahrain - Under heavy security, Bahrain’s embattled leaders toasted the return Sunday of the coveted Formula One Grand Prix even as riot police used armored vehicles to virtually seal off opposition strongholds and fight hit-and-run clashes in the Arab Spring’s longest-running street battles.
The contrasts put the Gulf kingdom’s divisions in stark relief: The Sunni rulers basking in the F1 glamor at the desert circuit while security forces imposed lockdown tactics against Shiite neighborhoods at the heart of the more than 14-month-old uprising.
Human Rights First, 18 April 2012
Washington, DC – The Bahrain regime is targeting human rights activists in the days leading up to this weekend’s F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, according to local human rights defenders who are in contact with Human Rights First.
“In the run up to the F1, the regime is targeting and arresting activists across the country. Dozens of people have been detained,” said SaidYousif al-Muhafda of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, who was briefly detained himself on Sunday night.
Formula One is under pressure again to call off its race in Bahrain where anti-government protesters continue to press for political reforms. Unlike last year, however, F1 is determined to hold the race—despite the potential backlash.
By: Justin Bergman17 April 2012
The eighty-one-year-old Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is normally just thought of as eccentric, but at the Chinese Grand Prix last week, he sounded completely out of touch with reality. Asked by a reporter if he thought Bahrain was politically stable enough to hold the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix on April 22, he was unequivocal in his response. “There’s nothing happening (in Bahrain),” he said. “I know people that live there and it’s all very quiet and peaceful.” Hours later, clashes broke out between protestors and security forces after the funeral for Ahmed Ismail, who was shot during a demonstration in March. Some of those in attendance threw firebombs at police and the authorities responded by firing tear gas and birdshot to clear the crowds. “No F1, no F1,” Ismail’s mother, Makyia Ahmed, told The Associated Press. “They killed my son in cold blood.”
17 April 2012
The Bahraini government’s response to the findings of an international commission of inquiry has proved inadequate as human rights violations continue, Amnesty International said in a new report on Tuesday.
The 58-page Flawed Reforms: Bahrain fails to achieve justice for protesters reveals that piecemeal reforms have failed to provide justice for victims of human rights violations, despite the government’s insistence that it will learn from the events of February and March 2011.
Amnesty International says government did little to bring justice to protesters after inquiry proved rights violations.
17 April 2012
Rights violations continue in Bahrain and the government’s response to the findings of an international commission of inquiry have proved inadequate, Amnesty International has said.
In a report released on Tuesday, the rights group found that Bahrain had failed to achieve justice for protesters with the piecemeal reforms implemented following the November 2011 report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
Financial Times, Abu Dhabi
By Camilla Hall, 16 April 2012
Bahraini police briefly detained two international human rights officials and scores of Bahrainis on Sunday, as the country struggles to depict a picture of calm ahead of the controversial hosting of the Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend.
Police detained Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch, and Nadim Houry, the organisation’s deputy director for the Middle East and north Africa, as they observed protests in the village of Duraz. They were not targeted specifically and were released after a few hours, after showing their permission to be in the country, Human Rights Watch said.
AFP, 17 April 2012
DUBAI: Amnesty International said Tuesday that Bahrain had failed to deliver on promises of political reform after a deadly crackdown last year, as controversy mounted over the kingdom’s hosting of the Formula One Grand Prix next weekend.
In a 58-page report released just days before the Gulf kingdom is due to host the prestigious race, which was cancelled amid last year’s unrest, the London-based watchdog said authorities “have failed to provide justice for victims of human rights violations.”
17 April 2012
Two F1 journalists tried their hands at war reporting after touching down in Bahrain ahead of this weekend’s controversial grand prix.
"I had a duty as an experienced journalist to see such an incident with my own eyes," said PA Sport’s Ian Parkes, who filed a detailed account of a protest about ten kilometres from the capital Manama on Monday.
Human rights are still being violated in Bahrain despite promises of reform, according to the campaign group Amnesty International.
16 April 2012
As the country prepares to host the Grand Prix, Amnesty warns “no-one should be under any illusions that the country’s human rights crisis is over”.
"Their reforms have only scratched the surface," said Amnesty’s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
More than 40 people died in last year’s unrest and 1,600 were arrested.
Whoever participates in this race is tainted by association with a malign regime
15 April 2012
The kingdom of Bahrain is a repressive regime that has jailed and killed citizens who campaign for the reform of its monarchy. In Shia villages in the minority Sunni-led state, which was propped up by last year’s intervention by Saudi troops, protests continue daily.
Only last week, Shia villages were attacked by supporters of the regime with knives and sticks. And while it is true that the country’s ruling family commissioned a critical report into the violence of last year, it is also a fact that despite promising reform the regime has reneged on most of its promises while the perpetrators of abuses in its security services have gone largely unpunished.
Associated Press, SHANGHAI
By: Justin Bergman, 15 April 2012
SHANGHAI (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix is definitely going ahead as planned and all of the teams are “happy” to be going there.
Ecclestone said after meeting with team principals at the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday that he believed Bahrain is peaceful enough to hold the race and that extra safety precautions would not be necessary.
By Brad Spurgeon, 15 April 2012
SHANGHAI — As I wrestled my way out of the sardine can of a Metro train car packed with racegoers for the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday I said to myself, “Hey, wait a minute, this series is not supposed to have succeeded in China! Why do I see thousands of spectators disembarking from this train, and only a tiny minority of them being foreigners?”
Anger as Bernie Ecclestone says Bahrain is ‘quiet and peaceful’ and ex-policeman John Yates claims it’s safer than London
By: Caroline Davies, 13 April, 2012
Human rights activists fear further bloodshed and a violent crackdown by authorities in Bahrain after race organisers gave the green light to next weekend’s Formula One grand prix in the troubled Gulf kingdom.
14 April, 2012
(Beirut) – The decision to go ahead with the Grand Prix on April 22, 2012, givesBahrain’s rulers the opportunity they are seeking to obscure the seriousness of the country’s human rights situation, Human Rights Watch said today. The decision was announced on April 13 by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Formula One Teams Association. As part of a major public relations campaign to clean up Bahrain’s image following the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011, the Bahraini authorities have been lobbying to have the Bahrain Grand Prix reinstated in 2012. The event was cancelled in 2011 because of political unrest. Not only is the event expected to generate significant income, but it is also being used by the Bahraini authorities to support their claim that the political and human rights crisis in the country is over.