No sooner had F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone finished his little Bahrain Grand Prix press assault last week that the anti-government violence kicked off once again in the island country. This time, a 22-year-old protestor was shot and killed, while another senior human rights campaigner was arrested, with just three weeks until the Bahrain Grand Prix returns to the F1 calendar.
Ecclestone and the Bahraini government’s propaganda machine can try all they want to convince the rest of the world that all is well in the country.
Well, it’s not. Nabeel Rajab, a senior figure in the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was arrested over the weekend ahead of a planned march of support on the country’s capital city, Manama, as part of what was meant to be a show of support for another human rights activist, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is currently under arrest and on a hunger strike.
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The day before, Amnesty International urged Bahraini authorities to release Al-Khawaja immediately.
On Friday night, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protestors near the village of Salmabad, 20 kilometres south of the Bahrain International Circuit. One protestor suffered serious wounds after being shot in the upper thigh, allegedly from a civilian vehicle that was following security forces. He later died in hospital as a result of his injuries.
Meanwhile, the Gulf News reports that Bahrain’s Court of Cassation announced that it would delay announcing the verdict in a hearing against 21 defendants who are on trial over charges of attempting to overthrow the government. And what’s the new date it will issue its verdict against the accused? April 23, one day after the Grand Prix.
How terribly convenient…