News ID: 240709
Published: 0945 GMT March 28, 2019

Amnesty: Bahrain seeks to ‘sportwash’ image by hosting Formula One race

Amnesty: Bahrain seeks to ‘sportwash’ image by hosting Formula One race

Amnesty International says the “deeply repressive” Bahraini regime is trying to rehabilitate its image by hosting the Formula One race.

The UK-based rights organization made the remarks on Thursday, commenting about the second Grand Prix of 2019, which are due to open in the capital Manama on Friday and last through Sunday, reported.

Since 2011, the ruling Al Khalifah regime has been facing protests against its chronic human rights abuses targeting political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the kingdom.

The regime has come down hard on the peaceful protests, killing scores of people and either jailing or stripping citizenship of hundreds of others.

Manama has even put some who have been critical of the race behind bars. Bahrainis say Formula One’s governing body, FIA, should cancel the event over Manama’s ongoing crackdown on protests and poor human rights record.

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been held since 2004, with the exception of 2011, when the popular uprising began in the Persian Gulf country.

On Wednesday, more than a dozen global rights groups and trade unions, including New York-based Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation, the world’s largest trade union federation, which is headquartered in Brussels, urged Formula One organizers to press the Bahraini government to release the activists jailed for criticizing the race.

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