British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has been labeled an inspiration by prisoners in Bahrain. The Brit demanded last year that the sport takes a greater responsibility for the human rights issues faced by host countries.
Some inmates are now donning Hamilton’s car number, 44, on their clothes in a show of support.
Formula One begins its new campaign this weekend in Bahrain. The country is renowned and often criticised for its human rights abuses.
Hamilton on Monday received a letter from Bahrain prisoner Ali Alhajee, who reportedly wrote to the motorsport champion about how his outspokenness had made a difference in how prisoners viewed the sport. Alhajee added that to many prisoners, Hamilton is a champion not only in the world of F1, but also as a human being who cares about others.
In his letter, Alhajee claims to have been a victim of torture prior to his sentencing for organising peaceful protests in the country’s capital, Manama. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence.
Several groups are once again demanding more action from F1 and the FIA over the human rights abuses in Bahrain. To this, F1 has responded by saying that the sport regards its responsibility on human rights in a very serious light, and that the FIA pays close attention to the ethical standards of every country and party in its supply chain.
A spokesperson for the Bahrain government said this week the country welcomes the role the sport plays in shedding light on human rights issues all over the world.
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