6-2-2011By Brian Dooley
Director, Human Rights Defenders
Tomorrow, Formula 1 officials will decide whether to award Bahrain the chance to host the Grand Prix. But the Bahraini government continues to stage a violent crackdown on pro-democracy activists that has left countless victims detained, injured, or dead.
Formula 1 auto racing is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, with over half a billion viewers last year. This year’s spring season was set to open with the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the crackdown caused F1 to postpone its 2011 race. F1 needs to send the right message to the Bahraini regime—that the world does not stand with repressive governments.
Authorities will decide tomorrow, June 3, whether to grant Bahrain a delayed 2011 race. Continuing attacks on peaceful protesters show that Bahrain is incapable of hosting a major international sporting event and should not be rewarded for abusing human rights. Granting the Grand Prix to a repressive regime will disappoint F1 fans everywhere. It should not turn a blind eye to torture, disappearances, and deaths of peaceful protesters.