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Bahrain police shoot mourner amid F1 concern

india Updated: Apr 14, 2012 20:05 IST
Bahrain Grand Prix


A Bahraini 15 year-old was in intensive care on Saturday after being shot by anti-riot police while attending the funeral of a citizen journalist killed during a protest late last month, the opposition said.

His shooting comes after Formula One bosses said the Bahrain Grand Prix would go ahead next week as planned, despite fears it could be targeted by anti-government demonstrations.

Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Aziz was among several people wounded during the funeral ceremony for Ahmed Ismail, 22, said Al-Wefaq, the main Shiite opposition movement in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.

He sustained bullet wounds to the chest as police fired tear gas and live rounds at mourners.

F1 governing body the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone both said in Shanghai, venue of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, that the Bahrain event would proceed as scheduled.

US-based watchdog Human Rights Watch said the decision to go ahead with the April 22 race would be exploited by the ruling Sunni dynasty.

The decision "gives Bahrain's rulers the opportunity they are seeking to obscure the seriousness of the country's human rights situation," HRW said in a statement.

"Formula One promoters say their decision to race in Bahrain should not be derailed by political considerations, but the ruling family will attempt to portray today's (Friday's) decision as a political statement of support for its repressive policies," said Tom Porteous, deputy programme director at HRW.

"The FIA has played into the government's narrative to gloss over Bahrain's continuing human rights crisis."

The controversial Bahrain event has overshadowed the lead-up to Sunday's race in Shanghai and many teams are believed to have grave concerns about the Gulf event.

It was postponed last year after protests broke out against the government, and was thought to be in jeopardy once again because of the more than year-long demonstrations.

HRW said Bahrain's "rulers have not fully carried out the key recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry" into the "largely peaceful pro-democracy protests in February-March 2011."

"The FIA, having given a green light for the Grand Prix to be exploited for human rights harm, needs to take all the steps it can to redress the damage it has caused and make sure the Bahraini authorities implement the measures that are needed," Porteous said.