Bahrain: Three UK journalists filming Formula One protests deported (VIDEO)


Bahraini protesters walk past a barricade during clashes with riot police in one of the Shiite suburb of the capital Manama where the unaccredited Channel 4 crew was arrested while filming.



Three journalists from the British television station Channel 4 have been deported from Bahrain where they were on assignment covering Sunday's controversial Formula One Grand Prix.

The Guardian newspaper reports that foreign correspondent Jonathan Miller was filming a demonstration in a Shiite village near Manama when he was arrested along with his cameraman, a producer, their local driver and the prominent human rights campaigner Dr Ala'a Shehabi.

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The journalists were held for six hours and deported to London late on Sunday.  The driver and activist were released later.

Miller described being stopped after a short car chase and being surrounded by scores of "very aggressive" riot police, according to Press Gazette, adding that their vehicle was tracked by a police helicopter.

Speaking to Channel 4 news Miller said they had been operating without official accreditation.

"So when we were caught filming a planned demonstration in one of the Shiite villages, they have not been particularly pleasant. They've been very aggressive towards me, my crew and driver and Dr Ala'a Shehabi," he said, explaining that the driver was beaten and taken away separately.

ESPN earlier reported that Bahraini authorities had refused to grant accreditation to non-sports journalists from organizations as diverse as Sky News, CNN, Reuters and the Financial Times, citing issues with "logistics".

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Bahrain's ruling Al Khalifa family wanted to use this weekend's race to show that life had return to normal in the kingdom after a crackdown on demonstrations forced last year's event to be canceled, ABC explains.

However opposition activists, mainly from nearby Shia villages, planned days of protests to coincide with the event, and on Saturday one protester was reported as having died in clashes with the authorities.