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F1 Says to Investigate Circumstances of Imprisoned Activist in Bahrain

President of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Jean Todt
President of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Jean Todt

2019-03-27 - 3:49 am

Bahrain Mirror: Formula One's management group insisted, in a statement released to the Press Association, that it is in dialogue with Bahrain over the plight of imprisoned Bahraini Activist Najah Yusuf, while also defending its human rights policy.

"We continue to remind all our promoters, including Bahrain, that peaceful protests at all our events is a democratic right, and we continue to raise our concerns in regard to Ms Yusuf with the Bahraini authorities," read the statement.

"Only last week we met to discuss Ms Yusuf's case with campaigners, we continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding it, and as all these parties are aware, we are working on a number of initiatives in regard to this case, that we, and they, have agreed it would be unhelpful to comment on further at this time."

The statement pointed out that "Formula 1 is committed to respecting internationally-recognised human rights in our operations globally and we take all such responsibilities seriously."

"As a global sporting organisation we already have a clearly defined human rights policy," they noted, adding that they "obtain from every national promoter of a Formula 1 Grand Prix its commitment to respect internationally recognised human rights."

Last week, Human Rights Watch urged the sport not to turn a blind eye to events in the country, and encouraged letters to be written to both F1 chairman Chase Carey and FIA president Jean Todt, calling on the sport to change its human rights strategy.

A number of campaign organisations have subsequently addressed F1 and urged them to put pressure on Bahraini officials.

Bahraini authorities had sentenced Yusuf to three years in prison in 2017, following a series of social media posts in which she denounced the political and social systems in Bahrain, as well as opposing the race.

But it has been claimed by human rights groups that she allegedly faced process violations throughout her trial - including reported sexual assault at the hands of authorities during her interrogation - and the use of a coerced confession in her conviction.


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