Sepp Blatter resigns as world football boss


Sepp Blatter

Daily Neue Zùrcher Zeitung from Switzerland reports today at 18:52, that Sepp Blatter, the boss of the FIFA international football organisation, is resigning. There will be a new election.

See also here.

Bahrain, torture and Formula One news


This video says about itself:

Western hypocrisy on human rights for Bahrain

11 February 2012

Maryam Al-Khawaja, of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, warns of a violent crackdown on pro-democracy activists over the coming days amid a media blackout.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters take to the streets in a peaceful rally calling for the release of political prisoners ahead of the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix: video here.

The 2015 Formula One World Racing Championship kicked off in Bahrain on Friday amid opposition protests calling for the event to be cancelled: here.

From the International Business Times:

Bahrain: Dissidents in Jaw Prison ‘subjected to mass torture’ in nightmarish building No. 10

By Gianluca Mezzofiore Senior Foreign News Reporter

April 17, 2015 18:20 BST

A recent riot at the infamous Bahrain’s Jaw Prison, south of capital Manama, where political and criminal prisoners are held, has led to a bloody crackdown with harrowing episodes of mass torture by riot police, according to a human rights group and testimony exclusively seen by IBTimes UK.

Hundreds of prisoners were subjected to tear gas, shot from close range, beaten and rounded up and taken outdoors, where they were stripped naked and left for three days. Then, they were crammed inside a tent for 30 days with no access to toilets or showers. Inmates were called one by one and taken to infamous building number 10, where further torture took place.

Reports of alleged torture and human rights violations come just days after Amnesty International issued a damning 79-page report accusing the Bahraini government of rampant abuse by security forces on dissidents – with documented episodes of torture and mistreatment of detainees, continued jailing of activists and bans on protests in the capital.

They used tear gas and gunshots. One guy was shot at a very close range. Everyone was beaten and asked to stand down”
– Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei

The outbreak of violence started on 10 March due to poor conditions and overcrowding in the prison, whose capacity is 450 but currently contains 1020 prisoners.

A government newspaper reported that the unrest was the result of violence by prisoners after a row between prison guards and three visitors. However, local rights groups said security forces used excessive force against prisoners.

The reaction of the Bahraini government was to bring in the feared riot police, formed by Pakistani and Jordanian guards, which surrounded the main buildings of the prison and then broke inside.

“Then the torture started,” Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of Advocacy at Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, who collected the testimonies, told IBTimes UK. “They used tear gas and gunshots. One guy was shot at a very close range. Everyone was beaten and asked to stand down.”

Then, the prisoners were rounded up, taken outside the prison facility and stripped of their clothes. They also had cold water poured on them. “Riot police used broken table legs and wood bars to beat the prisoners,” Alwadaei said.

Held outside for three days

The inmates were allegedly forced to stay outside for three days, during which they were regularly beaten by the riot police.

“People were called by name and taken to building number 10, where torture was conducted in much more horrific way,” Alwadaei said.

One of the witnesses reported seeing a man with who suffered further injuries to his head after being beaten where the stitches had been placed.

Another prisoner had his nose and leg broken and was subjected to “psychological and physical torture”, according to the transcript of a testimony seen by IBTimes UK. He was also banned from accessing the toilet and had overnight cold water dropped on him while sleeping.

“What is happening now in Jaw prison is even worse than 2011,”Alwadaei said. “We were shocked about the details.”

Families of some inmates at the prison were allowed no contact with them for more than one month, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which issued a statement earlier in April:

The wife of the human rights activist Naji Fateel said she has not heard from her husband since March 10. On March 24, she attempted to make a scheduled visit but said she was told by a member of prison staff that visits were “suspended indefinitely.” Fateel, who is also held in building 4, is serving a 15-year sentence for allegedly establishing a group that aimed to change the constitution.

The Bahrain’s police media centre at the Ministry of Interior denied any torture allegations when asked by IBTimes UK.

“No, these are all false rumours,” a spokesperson said. “We don’t use torture in Bahraini prisons. These are all lies… who told you this? It’s all lies”.

The testimonies of the alleged violations have been submitted to the UN for breach of international human rights and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Amnesty report

After the crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising in 2011, led by Saudi forces, Bahrain has plunged deeper into sectarian conflict between the wealthy ruling Sunni-al-Khalifa minority and the Shia majority.

King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa has pledged to implement recommendations by an independent commission of inquiry but reforms are progressing slowly and reconciliation talks have stalled. Violence between riot police and protesters is a weekly occurrence.

Decrees approved by Hamad include up to seven years in jail for criticising him. All protests, sit-ins and gatherings in Manama are banned indefinitely.

The Amnesty report documented dozens of cases of detainees being beaten, deprived of sleep and adequate food, burnt with cigarettes, sexually assaulted, electrocuted including on the genitals and burnt with an iron in order to try and force them to “confess” to crimes.

The Amnesty report added: “One such detainee told us he was struck with the claw of a hammer on several parts of his body. Another said he was raped by having a plastic pipe inserted into his anus.”

Formula One Voices Support For Human Rights, Ignores Abuses In Bahrain: here.

Bahrain, Formula One racing and dictatorship


This video says about itself:

The martyr alHuajjairi.. Bahrain’s witness on torture and impunity

3 May 2013

The martyr [medical profesional] AbdulRasoul alHujjairi had disappeared to be found later thrown in a street with scars of brutal torture and assault all over his body.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry chaired by international law expert Cherif Bassiouni documented in paragraph number 586 of its report that:

At 06:30, the body of Mr Abdulrasoul AlHujjairi was found in the vicinity of al-Askar Road in the Awali district. He was taken to BDF Hospital where he was pronounced dead. While the exact circumstances leading to this fatality are unclear, reports indicated that the deceased had gone missing around sunset the previous day. He suffered severe injuries all over his body and to his head caused by beatings.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Formula One 2015

Thursday 16 April 2015 00.04 BST

Amnesty warns human rights abuses ‘unabated’ before Bahrain Grand Prix

Amnesty International report details ‘chilling’ crackdown on dissent
• ‘Notion that Bahrain respects freedom of expression is pure fiction’
• Leading Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab arrested for highlighting prison abuse

Formula One back in Bahrain amid heightened rights concerns: here.

Human rights and Formula One: here.

Glitz of Formula One must not divert attention from Bahrain’s jailed journalists: here.

Bahrain Human Rights Abuses: Amnesty International Report Says Country Maintains ‘Chilling Crackdown On Dissent': here.

Government reforms put in place by Bahraini authorities in the wake of widespread anti-government protests four years ago have failed to end serious violations of human rights in the strategically important Gulf nation, Amnesty International said in a report released Thursday: here.

HUMAN rights watchdog Amnesty International accused Bahraini authorities yesterday of continuing rights violations in a “chilling crackdown on dissent”: here.

On Monday 13th April, the Bahraini authorities carried out widespread arrests, some of which have been recognized as arbitrary. The arrests were followed by a statement made by the Minister of Information who said “the Interior Ministry shall face with law any calls or events that attempt to defame the international event and the interests of Bahrain before, during and after the Formula 1 race”. Bahrain is to hold the Formula 1 Grand Prix between the 17th and 19th of April 2015: here.

Bahrain: Constant judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer. The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the constant judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, Head of the Women’s Petition Committee, an organisation which campaigns for the rights and dignity of women in the Shari’ah family courts: here.