Bahrain: Escalated Crackdown in Villages Close to F1 Grand Prix Event in Preparation for Race
Date: 7th April 2012
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern in regards to the escalated security measures, increased house raids and arbitrary arrests of citizens living in villages located near the Bahrain International Circuit, which is due to host the Formula 1 race on 21st April 2013.
The BCHR received numerous reports and documented cases of house raids by masked men in civilian clothing around midnight and at dawn, which have resulted in arbitrary arrests in villages close to the Bahrain International Circuit like Darkulaib and Shahrakan and in Hamad Town roundabout 17.
During the first week of April 2013, 10 youth including minors aging (16 to 25 years) were arrested during house raids, among them, Mohammad Abu-Zuhaira.
Family of one of the prisoners stated that at dawn a police officer along with masked men raided their house and asked to see the ID of one of the family members and asked for him. While the family went to call the person wanted, the masked men followed the family inside the house to the room he was in. They then arrested him without showing an arrest warrant. The family did not know of their son’s whereabouts for 3 days. When the family went to the Hamad Town Police Station asking for him, they denied knowing his whereabouts. (1)
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights believes that the escalated house raids and arbitrary arrests of youth in villages near the Bahrain International Circuit is aimed to spread fear and force silence among citizens to minimize protests and any media coverage of the continuous violations by the Bahrain authorities during the F1 Race.
Brian Dooley from Human Rights 1st in response to billionaire and president of Formula One Bernie Ecclestone, stated:
“One issue is whether or not human rights violations might be happening as a result of the race being there,” Dooley adds, “If the regime arrests people in order to intimidate others from peacefully protesting around Formula One, then the organizers, participants, and sponsors really need to say something about that.” (2)
The Bahrain International Circuit - host of Formula1 in Bahrain- is yet to be held accountable for violations conducted in 2011; namely sacking quarter of its staff post the pro-democracy protests and reportedly torturing staff in it’s premises. (2) To add to that, Bahraini car racing champion Mohammed Al-Khunaizie was arrested.
List of 10 youth arrested in the Darkulaib Village:
1. Ali Ebhraim Al-Jubori 2. Ali Hassan Hammad 3. Ali Makki Ahmed 4. Ali Abduljalil Fares 5. Mohammed Oun Abu Zuhaira 6. Yousif Khalil Yousif 7. Bader Jaffar Makki 8. Hassan Mohammed Al-Asfoor 9. Qassim Hassan Sultan 10. Hussain Abdulameer Al-Laith
List of youth arrested from the village of Shahrakan:
11. Nasser Ahmed Yaqoob 12. Jassim Murad Redha 13. Ali Yousif Radhi
The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the UN and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to stop its use of excessive force in response to the continued protests, and to put an end to the culture of impunity by holding people accountable for the ongoing human rights violations, including officials in high positions and members of the ruling family. The BCHR calls on the directors and board of the International Formula One race to cancel the Formula 1 race in Bahrain in light of the records of human rights violations related to holding the race, as well as the general human rights situation, which continues to deteriorate under the policy of impunity. (4)