Posted: 18:06 GMT, Jan.. November 2020 | Updated: 3:36 PM GMT, Jan.. November 2020
The wife of a death row prisoner cried when Lewis Hamilton said he had read a letter from her husband asking him to use the Bahrain Sunday Grand Prix to intervene in his case.
Zeinab Ramadhan, 31, spoke after the British F1 driver said he wanted to « digest » what he read after receiving correspondence from three inmates upon arriving in the tiny Gulf state for the race.
It followed the seven-time call of the world champion last week to do more against human rights violations in countries where motorsport takes place.
Mohammed Ramadhan, pictured with his eldest son Ahmed, on the right, is on death row in Bahrain after he was accused of killing a police officer with a torch during anti-democracy protests
Ramadhan’s children, pictured with a photo of their father, want Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton to bring up their father’s case while he is in Bahrain this weekend
Due to an overhaul of the F1 calendar caused by the pandemic, the next two Grand Prix races will take place in Bahrain, a country accused of using sports films to cover up the torture and executions of political prisoners.
Upon arriving in Manama on Thursday, Hamilton said: ‘It is very important that all sports use the platform they need to push on to make change.
‘The human rights problem in so many places we go is a massive problem. We’re one of the few sports that goes to so many different countries and I believe that as a sport we have to do more.
‘We have taken a step in the right direction, but we can always do more. You have taken some steps for the places we are going, but the important thing is to make sure that they are implemented correctly and that we see some action being taken. ‘
The family of 37-year-old Mohammed Ramadhan is campaigning for his release after the father of three was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer struck by a torch during protests against democracy.
Ramadhan and his friend Husain Moosa, both pictured, were both tortured by the authorities. Ramadhan refused to confess, but Moosa implicated his friend after he was beaten
Human rights activists say there is no evidence against the former security guard other than a confession from another man who was brought up under torture.
Zeinab said, “It is an impossible task to explain to my three children that their father may never come home. When Lewis Hamilton said he had read my husband’s letter, I cried. If he just says Muhammad’s name and tells the Crown Prince to release him, our nightmare may finally come to an end. ‘
A video was released on Friday showing their ten year old son Ahmed, flanked by his seven year old twin siblings Zainab and Husain, saying, “Lewis Hamilton, you can save our father’s life. Please ask Bahrain to free him so that he can come back to us. ‘
Bahrain’s human rights record has plagued F1 since the 2011 Grand Prix was canceled due to brutal crackdown on protesters who took to the streets during the Arab Spring.
The human rights charity, Reprieve, says Ramadhan, a former security officer and colleague Husain Moosa, now 33, was subjected to horrific torture after she was arrested in 2014.
Despite being beaten for days, Ramadan refused to admit the killing, only to be implicated by Moosa, who allegedly was under torture.
In a letter to Hamilton, Ramadhan said, “When the regime found that I had supported Bahrain’s uprising for democracy, they took revenge on me and accused me of a murder case.
‘I was hit with iron bars, repeatedly kicked in the testicles, and forced to stand until I collapsed.
After four days I was left with a shadow of my former self, but I never gave them the confession they were looking for. Instead, they turned to … Husain Moosa and subjected him to unspeakable abuse until he implicated me in the alleged crime. From that point on, our fate was sealed.
‘Hearing about your human rights campaign this year inspired me to get in touch. Our government doesn’t care if we live or die, but your vote could help change my country for the better. ‘
The letter ended with a final appeal to Hamilton, a high profile Black Lives Matter supporter, who said: “After your race this weekend, I urge you to tell your friend the Crown Prince that our lives are ours important is. It could make all the difference. ‘.
Earlier this week, 30 bipartisan British MPs wrote to F1 CEO Chase Carey, insisting that he implement a 2015 commitment to respect human rights in all of their operations.
Reprieve spokeswoman Jeed Basyouni said, “While Bahrain has an exhibition for the world this weekend, people should remember that this country is where peaceful protesters are being imprisoned, tortured to make false confessions and sentenced to death. ‘
The Bahraini government stated: “No one will be arrested or prosecuted for peaceful expression, and all detainees (regardless of charge) will benefit from full safeguards, including the right to representation and the right to be fair in the independent judiciary Bahrain. Furthermore, claims to torture and / or retaliation are categorically rejected. ‘
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Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1-Team, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas
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