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Bahrain - F1/file: Human Rights Activists In Bahrain Criticise The Timing ...

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By Reuters

MANAMA, BAHRAIN (APRIL 19, 2012) (REUTERS) BAHRAIN HUMAN RIGHTS SOCIETY MEMBERS SITTING DOWN FOR NEWS CONFERENCE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NABEEL RAJAB SOCIETY LOGO AND NAME (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NABEEL RAJAB GIVING STATEMENT ABOUT FORMULA ONE, SAYING: "We are not against Formula One because we are against Formula One; we agree every part of our nation likes to enjoy this sport. But we are against awarding dictators. Formula One in Bahrain has been taken as PR (public relations) for the ruling elite, the repressive dicators who are ruling the country" FORMER BAHRAIN NATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPION TARIQ AL FARSANI (BLUE SHIRT), WHO WAS JAILED THEN RELEASED LAST YEAR, SITTING BETWEEN PARENTS OF ATHLETES WHO HAVE BEEN TO JAIL OR WHO ARE STILL DETAINED FOR TAKING PART IN THE PROTEST POSTER OF VOLLEYBALL PLAYER SALEH MAHDI, CURRENTLY IN PRISON, READING AT BOTTOM: 'FOR FREEDOM' MAHDI'S FATHER HOLDING THE POSTER (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FORMER NATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPION TARIQ AL FARSANI TALKING ABOUT FORMULA ONE, SAYING: "I was one of the people who wants F1 to come here, for people to be released from jail at the same time; the nation would be happy and we can take part in it ourselves. But yes, the arrival or F1, in terms of timing, people are angry, people are imprisoned, they have martyrs. I don't blame the people who don't want Formula One to come and I wish it had come at a better time, but I don't oppose it coming, otherwise we wouldn't be getting this media exposure" NEWS CONFERENCE HAMIDA SAEED AL-NAIMI, MOTHER OF JAILED VOLLEYBALL PLAYER MURTADHA SALAH, HOLDING POSTER OF HIM POSTER OF MURTADHA SALAH, VOLLEYBALL PLAYER JAILED FOR PROTESTING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HAMIDA SAEED AL-NAIMI, MOTHER OF JAILED VOLLEYBALL PLAYER MURTADHA SALAH, GIVING MESSAGE TO FORMULA ONE SPORTSMEN, SAYING: "You are sportsmen, look to the suffering of sportsmen, look at their suffering, they are not criminals, not killers, all they did was to express an opinion" VARIOUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPRESENTATIVE TOM MALINOWSKI SITTING AT NEWS CONFERENCE. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 'HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH' REPRESENTATIVE TOM MALINOWSKI SAYING: "It is a political event (F1) though, no-one should make a mistake about that. The government wanted Formula One here not because they are interested in cars going around a track; they brought it here because they want to use it to show the world that everything is OK in Bahrain now and everything is not okay and it is important that folks around the world who are watching this race understand the reality of what is going on here" BAHRAIN INFORMATION MINISTRY OFFICIAL FAHAD AL-BINALI AT NEWS CONFERENCE ASKING QUESTION JOURNALISTS TURNING TO LOOK AT BINALI BINAL ASKING QUESTION HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NABEEL RAJAB ANSWERING (SOUNDBITE) (English) BAHRAIN INFORMATION MINISTRY OFFICIAL FAHAD AL-BINALI SAYING: "There is a small minority that are against it (hosting F1), saying that hosting the Formula One would give the government the opportunity to whitewash what has been done and present everything as if it is fine. But if you look at the news coverage and you look at the reality on the ground, it's quite the opposite. I mean because of the Formula One, media scrutiny has increased; because of the Formula One, protesters are getting more access to journalists and getting their voices out there to journalists who might have not been in the country if not for the the Formula One. So I think, it goes against their main claim." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT THE NEWS CONFERENCE
Dateline: 2012

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