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Protester killed, activists arrested as F1 wraps up

Zainab Al Khawaja was arrested after protesting the continued detention of her father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja
Zainab Al Khawaja was arrested after protesting the continued detention of her father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja

BCHR

UPDATE: Foreign journalists released, deported as crackdown on news around Formula One continues (CPJ, 23 April 2012)

(BCHR/IFEX) - 23 April 2012 - The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has reported on free expression and other human rights violations that occurred over the course of the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

On the day of the race: (22 April 2012)

The Bahraini regime has continued its escalating crackdown on peaceful protesters. A number of activists, journalists and peaceful protesters were arrested today. Many more were beaten, tortured and shot at with tear gas, shotguns and stun grenades. Another death was reported due to tear gas inhalation.

(. . .)

Protesters arrested

Today, at least eight Bahraini women went to the site of Formula 1 grand prix to protest against the unjust detention of activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja who has been on hunger strike for more than 70 days, which puts his life at great risk. The women were unarmed and peacefully protesting when they were arrested. Witnesses say that they were beaten up as well. The women's names are as follows:

1- Ramleh Mula Abbas from Nabih Saleh
2- Zainab Laith from Dar Kulaib (a poet and an activist who was listed to go to Gaza on the "Mariam Ship" in 2010)
3- Zainab Almuglak from Sihla
4- Eman Alhabishi from A'Ali
5- Masoma Alsayed from Bilad Alqadeem (was arrested several times for protesting)
6- Mona Ali from Sitra
7- Zahra Abdulanabi from Sitra
8- Sara Hasan from Sitra

(. . .)

Journalists arrested

A statement by the Channel 4 news confirmed that “a Channel 4 News team, with Jonathan Miller, has been arrested in Bahrain. We have been in contact with them and are very concerned for the welfare of their driver who was arrested and assaulted in front of the team, and then separated from them. When last seen, he appeared to be bleeding from slashes to his arms.” Miller managed to record an audio report while in the police car of what happened.

Like many other news agencies, Channel 4 News was denied journalist visas and has been working without accreditation during the Grand Prix. Yesterday, another reporter, Rasmus Tantholdt from Danish TV2 channel was denied entry to Bahrain at the airport for the second time in 24 hours. He was in Bahrain two weeks ago and did some coverage for the channel on protests supporting human rights defender Abdulhadi AlKhawaja.

Also, two Japanese journalists working for Asahi Newspaper were arrested in Sanabis village and taken to Exhibition police station, where they are still detained.

Mazen Mahdi, a photojournalist with German news agency EPA , was stopped today by riot police while covering protests in Belad Al Qadeem village. He was then threatened by police that they would break his camera. He said: “Threat made by what appears to be an officer masking his face and rank!”.

Click here to read the full report of violations on the third and final day of the Grand Prix

On the second day of the Grand Prix: (21 April 2012)

Following statements from government officials ensuring that they would provide the safety and security of F1 racers and fans, as well as threats from the Minister of Interior of escalation against protesters, the regime has intensified the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. Weeks before the scheduled F1, villages were raided and more than 60 activists and democracy movement leaders were arrested and tortured. Collective punishment has been worsening with the use of teargas and shotguns specifically. Dozens of injuries, many of which are serious, were reported, especially due to shotguns.

On the second day of F1, the dead body of 36 year old Salah Abbas Habib was found. Salah is known to be a pro-democracy activist and leader in his village Abu Saibaa. He was arrested by riot police along with more than ten others after a peaceful protest. All of the arrested were released after being brutally tortured, except for Salah. His family searched for him with no success. Salah's body was found the following morning on a roof of a building in Al Shakhoura village. Witnesses confirmed shotgun injuries and torture marks on his body.

Click here to read the full report of violations on the second day of the Grand Prix
What other IFEX members are saying
Case history

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