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Formula 1 to call off Bahrain GP – Amnesty International

Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director has recommends Formula 1 to call off the Bahrain Grand Prix, he indicating country’s human rights crisis is not over.

Last Friday FIA decided that the Bahrain GP will go ahead as planned on April 22nd despite worry regarding the unpredictable situation within the Bahrain.

“With the world’s eyes on Bahrain as it prepares to host the grand prix, no one should be under any illusions that the country’s human rights crisis is over,” . The authorities are trying to portray the country as being on the road to reform, but we continue to receive reports of torture and use of unnecessary and excessive force against protests.” Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui told Sky News.

In the meantime, Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander says that by heading to Bahrain, Formula One “risks sending the wrong signal at a time when the authorities in Bahrain should be focused on delivering real reform.”

But, at least one British MP believes the race should go ahead, saying it would play a role in “healing” the country. Bahrain has made massive steps towards reform in the last year,” said Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP, who is the chair of the Iran, All Party Parliamentary Group.

“Many observers have been encouraged by the independent commission of enquiry into events last year and so far 15 out of the 24 reforms recommended have been implemented.

“As chair of the UK Parliaments All Party Group on Iran I have been at the forefront of pressurising Bahrain to do more for its Shia population and have met a number of the opposition groups in the past months. If I thought it would help I would be the first to call for the cancellation.

“I believe however that as things stand by allowing the Bahrain Grand Prix to go ahead it can play a part in healing the country. The country both economically and socially needs to bring people together at this time.

“Moderates in both the Sunni and Shia communities want the Grand Prix. To cancel would hand a victory to those on both sides to the extremists. We should remember that the protests are not aimed at F1 but at the Government. Sport should act as an ambassador for reform. The only qualification for motorsport is skill. Not Colour, Class or belief.

“As long as the Bahrain royal family continue to move in the right direction, and that security and peaceful protest is accepted it is my view that the race should go ahead.”


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