The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), together with two survivors of alleged acts of torture by the state, Najah Yusuf and Hajer Mansoor , have jointly filed a legal complaint against Formula 1 with the National Contact Point of the United Kingdom (UK NCP) for breaching the guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the decision to award Bahrain the longest contract in F1 history.
The sports federation allegedly failed to engage with human rights stakeholders (“including human rights organisations, legislators across Europe, victims affected by the Formula 1 race and those who suffered reprisals for their human rights work”). humans”) by awarding Bahrain its longest contract.
The complaint reads : “F1 has failed to support victims of abuse directly related to your racing, including Najah Yusuf, who was tortured and jailed for criticizing the Grand Prix, and whose son is being held in ‘retaliation’ for his activism. Ignoring such stakeholders violates F1’s own human rights policy and risks being complicit in the abuses of its partners.”
“Forced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions”
This lawsuit also provides information on the recurrent human rights violations that have occurred in the state since 2011, such as ” forced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions “, which have led to international condemnation of human rights. Likewise, it includes the increase in arrests that have taken place at the time of the automobile test between 2012 and the current 2022 season.
Among others, several cases of torture victims included in those dates are mentioned, such as the case of the anti-government activist Salah Abbas Habib, who was found dead on the eve of the 2012 Formula 1 Bahrain GP .
“He had attended a peaceful protest against the Bahraini government and the 2012 Grand Prix. Government security forces violently broke up the protest with tear gas and shotguns fired into the crowd. He was last seen with Bahrain security forces government. The next day, the deceased body of Salah Abbas was recovered near the site of the protest.”
On the other hand, the indictment argues that ” the race has been responsible for a considerable increase in human rights abuses as the government acts to prevent and suppress protests at the time of the race”.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei , Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy ( BIRD ), commented: “It appears that Formula 1 has made a decision to disengage from stakeholders, in violation of its own policy, and has distanced from all those experts trying to warn them about the serious human rights risks posed by their activities in Bahrain”.
For his part and continuing in the same vein, Najah Yusuf (survivor of alleged acts of torture) added: “Seeing my letters ignored by F1 is heartbreaking. I need help to get justice, since it seems that they only care about income. Now I am forced to take further action by filing a lengthy complaint through the UK NCP.”