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Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Saturday, 7 April 2012 10:02 UK

Damon Hill 'conflicted' about Bahrain GP

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The Bahrain Formula One (F1) Grand Prix, postponed after the Arab Spring uprisings touched the country last year, is due to take place on the 22 April.

Today, much of Bahrain's protest movement is focussed now on the fate of one man - Abdulhadi Khawaja - who has been on hunger strike in prison for 58 days. He had been convicted of anti-state crimes and is serving a life sentence.

The former F1 world champion Damon Hill told presenter Justin Webb that he was "conflicted" about whether the Grand Prix should take place, adding that "my concern is really that F1 is perceived to be indifferent".

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights' Nabeel Rajab believed that the race should not take place, saying that "the dictators want to tell the outside world everything is normal" and that "F1 should not help Bahrain's repressive leaders".

But Zayed al-Zayani, chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit that hosts the grand prix, said that the race should go ahead.

"Bahrain has been the home of motorsport in the Middle East," he explained. "We've hosted seven previous grands prix... We have a regional event, so we get quite a few spectators from neighbouring countries as well and I think it would not be right to deprive them of this event.

"We are a social event, we are a sports event and we would like to stay that way," he added. And he said the race would bring an injection "of anywhere from $250m to $400m" to all levels of the Bahraini economy.


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