(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.
21 April 2012
MANAMA - A Bahraini protester was found dead after clashes with riot police on Saturday, the eve of the Gulf kingdom’s Formula One Grand Prix that anti-government activists have vowed to mark with “days of rage.”
The opposition party Wefaq said the body of a man named as Salah Abbas Habib, 37, was found on the roof of a building in a rural village. It said the protester was part of a group who were beaten by police.
In a SPIEGEL interview, Zainab al-Khawaja, the daughter of detained Bahraini protest leader Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, calls for this weekend’s Formula One race in the country to be cancelled. She says the protests in the Gulf state will continue until Bahrainis are given the right to “self-determination.”
Interview conducted by Souad Mekhennet, 20 April 2012
On Sunday, Formula One racing is set to return to Bahrain, but the country and opposition are divided over the event. Wefaq, the leading Shiite opposition group, has said it is not opposed to staging the race. Jasim Husain, a former member of parliament and representative of the group even visited the racetrack on Thursday to give the event a boost.
Associated Press, 19 April 2012
HINWIL, Switzerland — Activists are calling on Formula One team Sauber to carry a pro-democracy sticker saying “No Guns Against Voices” on its cars at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
The GSoA group, which campaigns for Switzerland to abolish its army, was presenting the Swiss team with the 5-foot decals bearing the slogan at the team’s headquarters on Thursday.
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.
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.
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.
By William Fisher
The Public Record
Dec 19th, 2011
Some mainstream media are suggesting that the Bahraini version of The Arab Spring is over. Crushed was the word used by one of the mainstream US newspapers.
But the Sunni King of the tiny oil-rich country, Hamad-Bin-Isa-Al-Khalifa, says the independent report he commissioned is being implemented. The report concluded that peaceful demonstrators were being attacked by soldiers, arbitrarily arrested, taken to prison and tortured. The King has, unexplainably, accepted the report’s findings and promised to work with the people on long-overdue reforms. He is seeking patience from his majority Shia subjects.