This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 18 °C Friday 23 August, 2019
Advertisement

Bahrain accused of using Formula One to 'sportwash' image

The second Grand Prix of 2019 opens in Manama on Friday and runs through Sunday.

A shot of Bahrain International Circuit.
A shot of Bahrain International Circuit.
Image: DPA/PA Images

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ON Thursday accused Bahrain of using this weekend’s Formula One race to “sportwash” its image, amid an intense crackdown on political dissent in the Gulf kingdom.

“Beneath the glamour of the F1, there is a far more sinister side to Bahrain, revealing the country as a deeply repressive state where anyone critical of the government can be jailed merely for posting a tweet,” said Amnesty’s Middle East director Samah Hadid.

“Instead of just ‘sportwashing’ its image and glossing over its dismal human rights record through high speed sport, the Bahraini government should immediately repeal laws that criminalise freedom of expression and fast track the release of all prisoners of conscience,” she said in a statement.

Bahrain, a key US ally located between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been gripped by bouts of unrest since 2011, when authorities cracked down on Shiite-led protests demanding political reform.

Hundreds of protesters have since been jailed or stripped of their nationality, including athletes.

Bahrain claims Iran trains and backs demonstrators in order to topple the Manama government. Iran denies the accusation.

The second Grand Prix of 2019 opens in Manama on Friday and runs through Sunday.

Global rights groups have stepped up pressure on the tiny monarchy in the run-up to the Grand Prix.

More than a dozen global rights groups and trade unions, including Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation, on Wednesday urged Formula One organisers to press the Bahraini government to release activists jailed for criticising the race.

- © AFP 2019 

Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (2)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel