Last updated: 23 April, 2012

British journalist arrested in Bahrain

Bahrain said Monday it is probing a deported British TV crew’s allegations their driver was assaulted as the journalists covered protests surrounding the kingdom’s Formula One race at the weekend.

In a message posted on micro-blogging website Twitter, the interior ministry said: “investigation launched into allegations by deported UK journalists about attack on driver”.

The Channel 4 News crew, including foreign correspondent Jonathan Miller, were arrested while covering a series of Shiite-led anti-government protests late Sunday, after the completion of the controversial F1 race.

Miller managed to talk to Channel 4 News while being taken to the police station, revealing he and his team were surrounded by riot police after being detained following a short car chase.

He said the police were “very aggressive” and expressed concern over the fate of his hired Bahraini driver, who the TV network later alleged had been “assaulted and separated from the group.”

Miller and his team were deported but the fate of their driver remains unknown.

Bahrain’s Formula One Grand Prix went ahead on Sunday despite a week of daily protests amid rising tensions between the kingdom’s Sunni rulers and their majority Shiite population.

King Hamad was among 10,500 spectators on the main grandstand and a smaller audience watched from other platforms as double world champion 24-year-old Sebastian Vettel of Germany led from start to finish.

The race however was marred by clashes between protesters and police, leaving at least one person dead.

On Sunday, protesters burnt tyres on the main road linking the capital to Sakhir race track, as security forces stopped dozens of others from marching towards the now demolished Pearl Square in central Manama.