Today's decision by the FIA to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on Oct. 30 was quickly criticized by the human rights watchdog group Human Rights First, which said the decision damages the push for human rights in the country.
“Giving this prestigious event to the Bahrain authorities while there are reports of peaceful protesters being shot in the streets is a formula for disaster,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “Hundreds of people remain in detention after months of military rule. Show trials and attacks on human rights activists continue. In short, pro-democracy activists are being left in the dust. The Bahraini authorities should not have been awarded this event when they can't even protect the basic human rights of their people.”
The crackdown on political dissent in Bahrain, which prompted the postponement of the race back in March, is still continuing, according to the activist group, who say Bahraini authorities continue to attack and harass human rights defenders in the Gulf State. The group termed it "surprising that the Formula 1 authorities are willing to be associated with such repression."
"By aligning itself with the violent Bahraini regime, Formula 1's reputation will be severely damaged,” declared Dooley. “Racing fans everywhere should be dismayed that Formula 1 is lending its stamp of approval to a country where reform has stalled.”