PtG Article 08.06.2011

Don’t go to Bahrain F1, urges Human Rights organisation

While Bahrain is gearing up to host the F1, more than 100 Bahraini athletes are still detained. President of Bahraini Center for Human Rights urges everyone to stay away from the sport event in solidarity with the detained sports stars and other peaceful demonstrators in jail

Last week the International Federation of Motorsports (FIA) re-instated the Formula One Grand Prix after the event was temporarily suspended when large protests against the country’s regime broke in February.

"I still don't know under what circumstances the Grand Prix has agreed to come to Bahrain. They have taken the decision on the day two people [allegedly killed during the protests] were buried," said Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights according to CNN.

"How will the athletes [in jail] feel knowing that F1 is coming here? Many are in detention waiting military trial. I will urge all the drivers, journalists, everyone, to stay in solidarity with us by not going to this event. This will be the sport of the oppressor's regime.

Among the detained athletes are three of the countries most prominent footballers but according to Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa al Khalifa, Vice President of the Bahraini Football Association this is not a case that calls for the action of FIFA.

"The players have obviously been in custody after their involvement in the demonstrations and acts of violence against governmental officials was proven," he said to the CNN.

Although FIFA in an answer to CNN said that they would ‘seek to sanction’ any use and abuse for political purpose neither FIFA nor the AFC have been willing to take a stand on the Bahrain case.

"The silence of FIFA and of the AFC raises a question," Rajab said according to CNN.

"Either they [the Bahraini FA] have a green signal or they [FIFA and the AFC] accept such violence against football players. Footballers have rights like any other human to be a citizen. It's time for FIFA to raise their voice. The people of Bahrain are looking at them and asking: 'Where are you?'"