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A plea from Bahrain

NEWS STORY
27/05/2011

Ahead of the June 3 deadline, a Bahrain resident states why he believes the sport must stay away from the country.

For obvious reasons, the person in question chooses to remain anonymous fearing that having seen what has happened to others could happen to them. The person has been keeping Pitpass informed of the situation almost since Day One, updating us on the situation when all others appeared to have lost interest.

Speaking in Monaco on Friday night, Bernie Ecclestone claimed that the biggest threat to the race isn't human rights or ethics but the logistics, the Englishman seemingly confident that all is well.

"They are all nice people there and I don't think we'd have any problem," he told reporters. "It's just a case of if somebody wants to get a bit of attention, that would probably be a good way to do it. But I don't think from a safety point of view there is anything to worry about."

His words come days after government spokesman, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, brushed aside claims that up to twenty-five percent of staff at the Sakhir circuit have been arrested, telling the Financial Times; "Allegations are exaggerated or unfounded to gain international sympathy... They should issue a complaint to the authorities."

Pitpass has no agenda here. As far as human rights are concerned there are plenty of countries that F1 should shun. Indeed, if that were the case the sport might struggle to get more than ten races on the calendar, if that.

In this particular case however, while many within the sport fear speaking out for all manner of reasons, we think it best that someone who is actually out there, someone who loves the sport, give us an update.

They write:

"The situation here remains grim, with the authorities telling everyone the situation is normal. This is easy to do if you have arrested anyone who disagrees with you and imprisoned every decent journalist or thrown them out of the country. The most recent occurring last Sunday when reporters at France 24 and Deutsche Presse Agentur were seized.

"With even Al Jazeera barred and Reuters in effect shut down, it would be wise for Williams to remove Reuters decals from its cars or face mass arrest, free speech is not permitted.

"France 24's Nazeeeha Saeed, now back in Paris, was assaulted beaten and subjected to electric shocks. She has stated she has "no comment on the shocks" or arrest pending a case against the Bahrain police officer who abused her.

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