Photo Credit: Skysports
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), along with two survivors of alleged state torture, Najah Yusuf and Hajer Mansoor, have jointly filed a legal complaint against Formula 1 on 27 October with the UK National Contact Point over the decision to award Bahrain the longest contract in F1 history, Press TV reported.
Allegedly, the sports federation failed to engage with human rights stakeholders, including human rights organizations, lawmakers across Europe, victims affected by Formula 1 racing, and those who suffered reprisals for their human rights work, in awarding Bahrain a new deal in February to host the race until 2036.
According to Press TV, the lawsuit further provides background on recurring human rights violations in the state since 2011, such as “enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings,” which have led to international human rights condemnation. Likewise, it also notes the increase in arrests that have taken place at the time of the motor racing event between 2012 and the current 2022 season.
Additionally, it mentions several cases of torture victims during these dates, such as the case of anti-government activist Salah Abbas Habib, who was found dead on the eve of the 2012 Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), commented: “It seems that Formula 1 has taken the decision to disconnect itself from stakeholders, in violation of its own policy, and has distanced itself from all those experts who try to warn them about the serious human rights risks posed by their activities in Bahrain,” according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Najah Yusuf, a survivor of torture, added: “Seeing my letters ignored by F1 is heartbreaking. I need help to get justice as they seem to only care about revenue. I am now forced to take further action by filing a lengthy complaint through the UK NCP,” according to Press TV.
Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis since the popular uprising began in the Arab country in mid-February 2011.
People demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.