British, Japanese journalists held in Bahrain

British, Japanese journalists held in Bahrain

A British TV crew and two Japanese journalists were detained by the Bahraini police on Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.

"We can confirm that our foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller and his team have been arrested whilst reporting for the programme from a village in Bahrain," Channel 4 News spokesperson said. "Our primary concern is for the safety of the team, and we are working with the appropriate authorities to secure a swift release."

The team failed to obtain journalist visas and worked without official accreditation to cover the Bahrain Grand Prix and civil unrest, the channel said on its website.

The corresponded came in contact with the Channel 4 news service and told that police were aggressive during the arrest, especially against the team's local driver, who was arrested and assaulted in front of the team, and then separated from them.

"We are operating without accreditation, so when we were caught filming a planned demonstration in one of the Shia villages - they [police] have not been particularly pleasant. They've been very aggressive towards me, my crew and driver and Dr Al Shihabi, a prominent human rights activist." Miller said while being taken to a police station.

"Right now we're concerned for our driver...things are rather worse for Bahrainis in police custody," he added.

A prominent opposition activist, Mohammed Al-Maskati, told RIA Novosti that police also arrested two Japanese journalists who covered protests on a highway leading to the Bahrain International Circuit, where a Formula 1 Grand Prix took place on Sunday.

"I saw the police detaining two Japanese journalists of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper," he said.

Meanwhile, the country's state news agency BNA said King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa received congratulations from the country's government and parliament "on the occasion of a successful Grand Prix."

Civil unrest in the Middle Eastern nation has put the April 22 Formula 1 race in Bahrain under threat. Last year the Grand Prix was also canceled for the same reason a mere three days before it was to begin .

Opposition says protests are still underway near the capital Manama, with protestors demanding "true" reforms, government's resignation and the release of political prisoners. The opposition also demanded that Bahrain Grand Prix be cancelled as "the country should not hold Formula 1 while violence continues and people are being killed."

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