Ahead of the season finale of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi this weekend, Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director of Campaigns, Samah Hadid, said:
“This weekend, as sports fans around the world turn their eyes to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, which is hosting the season finale of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the country’s appalling human rights record continues to escape scrutiny.
“Do spectators know that behind the glamorous façade, people are being arrested and tortured for voicing criticism of the government? Or that enforced disappearances go unchecked, with families often going months without knowledge of their loved ones’ whereabouts? Or that over 60 political prisoners remain behind bars following unfair trials?
“The show of fast cars and celebrities is nothing more than a distraction from an ongoing human rights crisis. The UAE authorities should also be devoting their attention to releasing prisoners of conscience and by repealing harsh laws that criminalize peaceful freedom of expression.
“With their crackdown on peaceful activism the UAE authorities have displayed contempt for due process and the rule of law, and the international community has turned a blind eye for too long. Enough is enough – this weekend, human rights must also be in the spotlight.”