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Authorities Arrest 4 Individuals for Protesting F1 Race Despite F1 CEO Assurance that Protesting Race won't Result in Reprisals

2023-03-06 - 6:00 p

Bahrain Mirror: Four people were arrested near the Bahrain Grand Prix in Manama. Former political prisoners Hajar Mansour and Najah Yusuf were among those arrested, as well as Ali Mhanna and Muneer Mushaima. The four were arrested over their peaceful protests and demanding the release of political prisoners, although F1 assured that protesting the race will not result in reprisals.

Video footage showed the protesters being surrounded by police cars, with one of the demonstrators reporting that there were seven police vehicles present before the arrests took place. The police confiscated the identity cards of the detainees and transferred them to Riffa police center.

Najah Yusuf had been holding a sign that read: "For protesting F1 in 2017, I was beaten, tortured and served two years in prison. I am still dismissed from my job. Meanwhile, F1 makes millions from our suffering. Shame on them."

Hajar Mansour's sign read: "My son Sayed Nizar completed six years of his arbitrary sentence this week. He was arrested when he was 18 and subjected to harrowing torture. The UN called for his release. Hajar addressed the F1 saying "shame on you for refusing to meet torture victims."   

Mushaima's banner read, "The Bahraini government executed my brother Sami in 2017, and my brother Reda is serving a life sentence," meanwhile, Ali Mhanna's sign read: "My son has spent 208 days in Isolation in Jaw Prison, why? Until When? Is that legal?" demanding the release of political prisoners in Bahrain.

Ali Mhana is the father of a Bahraini political prisoner, Husain Mhanna. Mushaima is the brother of Sami Mushaima who was executed in 2017. Reda Mushaima, Muneer's other brother, is currently in prison in Bahrain. 

Prior to the arrests, Sayed Ahmed Al-wadaei, the director of Bird, took a call with the protesters and posted a short video on Twitter. In it, Muneer Mushaima is heard chanting "we demand the release of prisoners", while Najah Yusuf shouts "we demand our basic rights, shame on Formula One for racing in Bahrain and making millions in profit at the cost of our suffering". 

Al-Wadaei said the arrests had come "after we received assurances from Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali that protesting the race will not result in reprisals". Al-Wadaei demanded F1 to ensure the release of the four political prisoners and not to make them bear the consequences of exercising their right to freedom of assembly.

Arabic Version