F1 to 'further investigate' Bahrain claims

Bahrain Grand Prix

F1 chiefs have pledged to “further investigate” alleged human rights abuses in Bahrain, campaigners say.

F1 representatives met with campaigners on Wednesday to discuss Najah Yusuf, who was jailed two years ago.

Protest groups including Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy claim Yusuf had been given a three-year sentence because she protested against the 2017 race.

Bahrain authorities say Yusuf’s jailing was not related to the grand prix.

The sport has been accused by human rights groups of sending “an appalling message” over the matter.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven met F1 officials on behalf of the campaign groups. He outlined claims of alleged sexual assault during Yusuf’s interrogation as well as claims that a coerced confession was used to convict her.

Following the meeting he said F1’s general counsel Sacha Woodward-Hill would look into the matter.

“I am relieved that Sacha and Formula 1 have expressed genuine concern and have an open mind to investigate further the particular circumstances which have led to Najah’s imprisonment and the violations of her human rights since her arrest,” Lord Scriven added.

He added the parties would hold another meeting once further investigations had been carried out. F1 bosses have yet to comment on the meeting.

Staged for the first time in 2004, the Bahrain Grand Prix has been one of the most controversial races on the F1 calendar.

It was cancelled in 2011 after pro-democracy protests were crushed. At least 35 people were killed; protesters claimed the death toll was far higher.

In 2013 a group of British MPs called on then-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to cancel the race again amid further unrest in Bahrain. However, recent races there have passed off without incident.

This content was provided by the BBC

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