Behind the fireworks, shiny racing cars and celebrations of the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain, 17-year-old Ali Abdul Ghani was gasping for his last breath. As Nico Rosberg, the race's winner, celebrated his victory, the young man, who was on the run, and sentenced to five years in prison, was probably already dead.
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) April 4, 2016
The teenager had sustained serious injuries as he was running away from security forces and masked men who attempted to arrest him. This all took place in a neighboring village to the Bahrain International Circuit just as the massive event was launched there on the March 31.
The Bahraini Interior Ministry's Twitter account tweeted:
Fugitive sentenced to 5 years in jail arrested. Injured in fall from building in Shahrakan while trying to escape. #Bahrain
— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) March 31, 2016
It did not elaborate further. Yesterday, Abdul Ghani's death was announced and today thousands marched in the village of Shahrakan, where he was buried.
In this video, crowds chanted angrily as they marched the streets breaking an official ban on protests.
— AlwefaqEN (@AlWefaqEN) April 5, 2016
The opposition group, Al Wefaq, also reported arrests after the funeral.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who works for the BIRD human rights organisation based in the UK, called for an investigation:
— Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei (@SAlwadaei) April 4, 2016
But Bahrain has been failing to score credible points in its human rights and justice records. Alwadaei's NGO, along with four others, said in their joint-statement:
Ali’s death comes during the 2016 Formula One race and as authorities threaten to increase security across the country. He is the second to die during the event after Salah Abbas, a father of five who was killed by police on the eve of the 2012 race after being tortured and shot. His corpse was found on the roof of a building. Despite promises by authorities to open an investigation, no one has ever been held responsible for Salah’s death.
The statement includes alarming details given by eye-witnesses on how he sustained his injuries.
Even Abdul Ghani's death certificate did not state the reason of death:
— يوسف ربيع (@yussufrabie) April 5, 2016
Look for the reason of death in this death certificate issued by the Bahrain Defense Hospital which is in violation to the norm
The tiny Gulf kingdom has been repeatedly slammed by leading human rights organisations as well as the United Nations for failing to fix its political and human rights problems which exploded into chaos with a mass crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011.
Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab tweeted another painful truth of the story:
— Nabeel Rajab (@NABEELRAJAB) April 4, 2016
Pictures of protests in villages quickly emerged on Twitter, noticeably, mentioning John Kerry, US Secretary of State, who is set to visit Bahrain this week.
— Bahrain (@mowalee) April 4, 2016
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain nailed the senior official's timeline with tweets asking him to raise vital issues like torture, revocation of citizenship and imprisonment of prominent political leaders.
— ADHRB (@ADHRB) April 1, 2016