Bahrain, football, torture and Britain

This video says about itself:

E:60 – Taken / Athletes of Bahrain

8 November 2011

Produced by Yaron Deskalo of ESPN. Filmed and Edited by Evolve Digital Cinema.

What if a country’s biggest athlete, a legend, a hero, a player who brought the nation some of its biggest sporting moments, was at practice one day and was suddenly taken into custody by masked men? What if he was held for months, tortured, his career ended, banned from his team and for playing for his country, all because he expressed his political views? It’s not a storyline from a Hollywood script — that is what allegedly happened in Bahrain.

Specifically, it’s what Alaa Hubail says happened to him. Hubail is the most famous soccer player in Bahrain and says similar treatment was forced on his brother, Mohammad, also a member of Bahrain’s national soccer team; and to Anwar Al-Makki, Bahrain’s internationally ranked table-tennis champion. In a story largely ignored by the Western world, these athletes describe in detail the horrific torture they endured at the hands of their government — a government that is allied with the United States despite allegations of human rights abuses against pro-democracy protestors. E:60 goes to the Middle East for the first time to investigate how athletes were caught up in the clash of democracy, freedom, repression and politics. Jeremy Schaap reports.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dyke Slams Bahrain’s Blood-soaked Prince

Tuesday 16th February 2016

Khalifa’s involvement in crackdown on protests makes FA chief uneasy

by Our Sports Desk

FOOTBALL Association chief Greg Dyke called on Fifa presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa yesterday to confess to his role in Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in the Gulf kingdom.

“No-one denies that there were violations of human rights involving sportsmen and footballers that went on four years ago — no-one denies that. The denial is over whether or not he was involved,” Dyke said.

“The question is, does it matter whether or not he was involved, or is it the fact, can you have someone from Bahrain running world football, in charge of world football, given what happened there four years ago? I personally have my doubts.”

Khalifa, currently head of the Asian Football Confederation, is a member of the despotism’s ruling family and has been accused of dobbing in athletes who took part in the demonstrations which began five years ago this month.

At the time Khalifa was the president of the Bahraini FA.

The popular protests were brutally suppressed by troops from Bahrain and also Saudi Arabia, both armed with British-made vehicles and equipment. Dozens were killed and many more arrested and tortured.

Britain has a long history with the Gulf state, with it being a British client state from the early 1800s. Since it declared independence in 1971 Britain has continued to prop up its blood-soaked rulers, including by flogging them vast quantities of arms.

Tory MP Damian Collins backed up Dyke’s comments, accusing Khalifa of “not being straight with what he knew” about jailing and abuse of activists.

“He clearly did nothing to stand up for and protect the sportspeople and he doesn’t want to discuss it.”

Collins was one of the organisers of a “New Fifa Now” debate in Brussels last month, which Khalifa ducked out of — insisting he has no “skeletons in the closet.”

The debate descended into farce when only one candidate, Jerome Champagne, showed up.

While Collins has openly criticised Khalifa for his alleged human rights abuse, Tory PM David Cameron has been pushing deals with Bahrain.

As well as arms sales, Britain signed a major defence pact in 2012, continues to train Bahraini troops, invited another prince involved in putting down the demonstrations to the London Olympics, and Bahrain’s King Hamad attended Queen Elizabeth Windsor’s diamond jubilee dinner.

Britain is set to open a naval base in Bahrain later this year.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International said that matters were getting worse in the country.

“Five years since the uprising, torture, arbitrary detention and a widespread crackdown against peaceful activists and government critics have continued,” said Amnesty’s James Lynch.

“Today in Bahrain, anyone who dares to criticise the authorities — whether a human rights defender or political activist — risks punishment.

“Institutions set up to protect human rights have not only failed to independently investigate or hold perpetrators to account, but now increasingly appear to be used to whitewash continuing abuses.”

Fifa presidency: Greg Dyke casts doubt on Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa replacing Sepp Blatter: here.

FA chairman Greg Dyke has doubts about Sheikh Salman’s Fifa candidacy: here.

Sheik Salman’s man in dirty-tricks gaffe after he wrongly accuses Prince Ali of hiring former Israeli footballer: here.

BANNED Uefa ex-president Michel Platini painted himself as a martyr yesterday, insisting he was appealing against his eight-year sanction in order to fight “against injustice.” Platini got the boot from football in December for a “disloyal payment” of £1.3 million to him from disgraced Fifa ex-president Sepp Blatter in 2011: here.

4 thoughts on “Bahrain, football, torture and Britain

  1. Pingback: Bahrain torture and football news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Still human rights violations in Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Britain trains soldiers of over sixteen torture regimes | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Don’t extradite tortured footballer to Bahrain regime | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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