Bahrain state media reports on Sheikh Nasser, one of King Hamad’s sons:
The Nasser bin Hamad Foundation has presented a Formula 1 car simulator to the Bahrain International Circuit as a contribution from the foundation to promote the campaign of the circuit, “the home of motorsport in the Middle East”, to host the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from April 19 to 21.
The initiative of His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa is an affirmation from His Highness to the importance of playing an active part in supporting the Kingdom in embracing this wonderful international event, which enhances Bahrain’s reputation on the international sporting arena.
Sheikh Nasser is a controversial figure who is accused of being involved in torture during the government crackdown in 2011. He denies the allegations.
Last year, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) submitted evidence to the British government calling on them to prevent him attending the London Olympics in his role as the head of Bahrain’s Olympic committee. They were unsuccessful in their attempt. The Guardian reported at the time:
Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa is claimed to have been “personally engaged” in beating, flogging and kicking pro-democracy protestors during Bahrain’s brief chapter in the Arab spring last year.
Documents submitted to David Cameron and William Hague, the foreign secretary, and seen by the Guardian, describe how Sheikh Nasser launched “a punitive campaign to repress Bahraini athletes who had demonstrated their support (for) the peaceful pro-democracy movement.
“Following his directives more than 150 professional athletes, coaches and referees were subjected to arbitrary arrests, night raids, detention, abuse and torture by electric cables and other means,” said the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a Berlin-based group.
Mohammed Hassan Jawad described how he and Mohammed Habeebe al-Muqdad were treated by the king’s son at Manama Fort prison clinic on April 9 after they had taken part in a demonstration calling for the overthrow of the regime. “He started abusing us, began to flog, beat and kicked us everywhere,” Jawad told a dissident newspaper quoted by the ECCHR. “He took a rest and drank water and then resumed the torture by pulling us from our hair and beards. No one else was involved in our torture and hence agony… He ordered the jailers to put our feet up to beat us. The torture continued for almost half a day until dawn.”