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What's really happening in Bahrain

NEWS STORY
14/04/2011

With just over two weeks to go before the FIA deadline regarding whether Bahrain will host a round of the championship this season, the Bahrain International Circuit's CEO has said that while no decision has been made he and his team are busy working behind the scenes.

"We are in constant contact with concerned authorities to reschedule the Bahrain Grand Prix 2011," Sheik Salman bin Isa al-Khalifa told the Bahrain News Agency, according to the Guardian. "Now that security has prevailed and normal life has returned to Bahrain, we are stepping up contacts to host the race anew."

Funny enough, in another section of the Guardian, we learn that a "Bahraini woman who witnessed her father - a well-known human rights activist - being seized by masked soldiers, beaten unconscious and then taken into custody", has told the newspaper that she is "willing to die on hunger strike unless he is released".

The article carries a picture of 27-year-old Zainab al-Khawaja, who today begins her fourth day without food.

Meanwhile, our very own source in Bahrain, poses the following question: "How could any team or the FIA consider coming to race here or for that matter promote this country?"

"First let's deal with the small issue of roughly 450 people who have been detained and the rather alarming figure of the 30 who have gone missing," our source continues. "Actually we can cut that down to 29 as the body of Businessman Karim Fakhrawi has been released to his family. He was arrested last week and pronounced dead on Tuesday. Mr. Fakhrawi is the fourth person to die in police custody."

Our source includes a link to YouTube footage, however, we have opted not to include the link as our readers would find it extremely distressing.

"With Saudi tanks on most street corners and armed soldiers everywhere the place is deserted," our source continues. "If you speak to the villagers you can see real fear and terror in their eyes as they talk about the snatch squads that come and remove family members at will, mainly for punishment beatings or detentions. Once they are detained the same soldiers come back to loot the houses.

As CNN put it: 'Outlying villages resemble a war zone, with the names of civilians killed written in graffiti on the walls'. There doesn't seem to be any just cause, simply a case of 'which village shall we smash up tonight?'.

"Common law and order has been abandoned," our source continues. "If you had a job with a government entity and you supported the protesters you don't have one now.

"Every day there are more horrific stories, people are nursed at home as if they go to the hospitals, they fear as they will be arrested and beaten again, several newspapers have carried cases like this and these are not one-off's.

"Mind you," our source continues, "with countless doctors and nurses detained for helping the injured protestors, there is probably not much point in going.

"Foreign journalist are often detained at gun point and taken to police stations for a 'little chat', ask CNN, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Reuters or you might even get shot at from a helicopter as one brave journo did.

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