As pressure to boycott the Bahrain Grand Prix continues to build in the wake of the country’s increasing civil unrest, Bahrain International Circuit officials have rehired a number of employees who were dismissed after being arrested for their alleged anti-government support.
Last year’s season-opener was postponed and then cancelled following an intense period of violent anti-government protests in the country. Thousands of anti-government protestors were arrested, and there were well-supported claims that many were tortured during their incarceration.
A government report issued last year confirmed that many detainees had been the victims of excessive force, but a recent escalation in violence has seen allegations of overly forceful crackdowns by government security forces resurface once again.
Human rights groups are again calling upon the Formula 1 teams to boycott the race – scheduled as the fourth round of the 2012 championship – while government officials are fervently denying any problems in the country and insisting that all is well in the island kingdom.
The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between…
But many of the sacked circuit representatives – who were believed to support the pro-democracy groundswell – have now
conveniently been welcomed back with open arms.
“The reinstatement is in accordance with the royal decree of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry,” a statement from the circuit reads.
“The employees had been dismissed as they were deemed to be in breach of contract during the protests in Bahrain in 2011. Following the protests, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa commissioned an independent inquiry to investigate the protests, the findings of which were published in November 2011. The independent report made a number of recommendations, which the Government pledged to implement by February 2012, which included recommendations with regard to the treatment of dismissed workers.
“The management team of the Bahrain International Circuit (“BIC”), which is the home of motorsport in the Middle East and host of the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, has already contacted and consulted with the relevant staff with regards to their reinstatement and it hopes to see all employees returning to work as soon as possible.”
[Original image via The Globe & Mail]