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Mon 23 Jan 2012 12:40 PM

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Bahrain F1 circuit ‘fails to reinstate sacked staff’

Activist says promise to rehire staff was ploy to smooth over tensions ahead of April Grand Prix

Bahrain F1 circuit ‘fails to reinstate sacked staff’
Bahrain scrapped its Grand Prix last year following widespread civil unrest

Bahrain’s race circuit, the venue for its April Grand Prix, has failed to reinstate staff fired during last year’s uprising, despite a promise by the Gulf state that it would rehire those suspended.

Just three of the 29 people sacked during the protests have returned to work this month, media reports said, with some refusing to accept terms offered by Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

Leading local activist Nabeel Rajab said the offer to reinstate the staff was an attempt to deflect attention from calls for a boycott of the planned April race.

“I very strongly believe that [the promise to rehire] was primarily just to get Formula One back,” said Rajab, vice president at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. “They should not just have reinstated those people, they should have launched an investigation. They don’t know why they were sacked and now they are expected to come back to work without answers?”

Bahrain’s Ministry of Labour said Aug 18 that 2,463 employees had been dismissed since the start of the anti-government uprisings.

Arabian Business reported this month that rights groups in Bahrain had urged F1 teams and fans to boycott the April Grand Prix in protest at abuses in the kingdom.

Bahrain’s season-opening race at Sakhir circuit was cancelled last year after widespread political unrest in the country and the deaths of a number of pro-reform demonstrators.

An independent report into the crackdown on protesters found authorities used “excessive force” and listed the systematic torture of detainees.

Activists in the kingdom have said they will target the F1 race if it goes ahead in April.

Last weekend’s Bahrain Air Show, the island’s first global event since the uprisings, saw protesters burn tyres around Manama in a bid to embarrass the government.

“The Bahrain Air Show was a complete failure,” said Rajab. “The airplanes were lost in a dark cloud of protesters around the area. And of course nobody came.

“We don’t want to see Formula One to come to Bahrain. It’s better for them, it’s better for the Bahrainis and it’s better for human rights if they don’t come this year to Bahrain.”

A spokesperson for BIC was not immediately available for comment.

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H R m 8 years ago

The Bahrain Air Show was a huge success better than 2 years ago and everyone enjoyed it all 3 days were perfect, your so called anti have nothing else to do but to send their young children aged 12-15 to go out and burn tires where are the human rights people??? Hello wake up and smell the coffee human rights people. F1 brings a lot for the Bahrain economy business, restaurants, and hotels. Another thing these anti people want to ruin the economy didn't they think if there is no business then that means no salaries to spend on your families?

Ali Abdulla 8 years ago

Nabeel Rajab is completely wrong that nobody came to the Bahrain Airshow. Maybe he did not go!!! The airshow was a complete success and so will be the Formula 1. If Mr. Rajab thinks that burning tyres on the road is a win for Human Rights (actually they are hindering others rights to move on with their lives), I have doubts on his credibility to function as a fighter for human rights.

Man, move on and please do not quote Mahatma Gandhi and say that your so called peaceful protests are inspired by him. You do not have any clue.....

Mohammed 8 years ago

Arabian business didnot even check the facts and printed it so blindly.

Bahrain Air show was immensely successful with burstling crowds. I was surprised to see such huge crowds, perhaps people wanted to show loyalty towards the government and flocked the Air show like never before.

All peace loving, patriotic and Bahrain loving people have flocked to this show and made it an immense success. Some disloyal people who wants this show to fail aren't able to digest this fact and are spreading lies in the media to satiate their satanic wickedness.

Its a shame on the people who lives and flourishes in the country and at the same time wishes bad for the country they are living in.

PeterP 8 years ago

Mohammed, where did Arabian Business say it wasn't a success? The guy quoted did. When will you government apologists learn to tell the difference between fact and someone's opinion - Mr Rajab commented on the air show. The story itself only says there were protests; which there were!
In addition, bearing in mind a government-backed report said security forces had "systematically tortured" protesters during last year's uprisings, I would think you should spend your time examining the clear problems in Bahrain's government and less time sounding so brainwashed. "Satanic wickedness" - please. You're indoctrinated.

Ted 8 years ago

F1 should not align itself with a regime which tortures people in prison & is ignorant about human rights. F1 does not bring money for everyone, especially those who were dismissed from their jobs. You do know they've been offered only 3 months work, with several despicable conditions attached? Not all have had a job offered to them. Learn to think for yourself. Learn what is truly happening.

Ebrahim Taher 8 years ago

Yes you're right! Bahrain Show was really a big success even though the people who is full of hatred in their hearts are on the streets burning tires which by the way don't have any idea at the end result of what their doing. They will not gain anything from what their doing and they're only destroying themselves. They think they know everything but in fact they know nothing. If you really love your country then stop what your doing, because your actions will not do any good for your country. F1 will be successful and I know that the government will be well prapared for this and you can do nothing to stop this. There are more loving people in Bahrain than the kind of people who wants to destroy their country.

J jacobs 8 years ago

Bahrain is small and needs all the events possible to prosper. The ones who were sacked were opportunists who left their jobs to join a revolution which didn't happen. No system is perfect and destroying rather than building or not working rather than working for certain individuals is always easier!

Esben Tipple 8 years ago

Bahrain is a stain on the F1 calendar at the best of times. I wouldn't miss it should F1 never return to it again.