Bahrain deports Channel 4 journalists

The journalists were arrested while covering the Grand Prix.

New Statesman
A demonstration against the Grand Prix in Bahrain. Photo: Getty Images

Three journalists from Channel 4 News, their driver and a human rights activist were arrested and deported from Bahrain on Sunday. 

The journalists, including foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller, a cameraman, and producer, were filming a demonstration when they were arrested and detained for six hours before being sent home. The driver, named Ali, and human rights campaigner Dr Ala'a Shehabi were released later but were not deported.

Channel 4 News was not accredited by Bahrain with permission to enter the country for the Grand Prix and demonstrations. Bahraini authorities had only given permission to news organisations which officially covered Formula One. 

Miller said:

So when we were caught filming a planned demonstration in one of the Shia villages, they [the police] have not been particularly pleasant. They've been very aggressive towards me, my crew and driver and Dr Ala'a Shehabi, a prominent human rights activist.

We were actually heading back to where we were staying to edit the piece we'd compiled for tonight – we'd met villagers in a Shia suburb off the main city, who were demonstrating night after night.
 
A Channel 4 News spokeswoman said: "We are pleased to confirm that our team is safe and on their way back to the UK. We also have confirmation that the team's driver – who they saw assaulted by Bahraini authorities – and human rights activist Dr Ala'a Shehabi have also been released."
 
Miller said that the Bahraini authorities had refused to return the crew's cameras and computers.