Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) lodged today (16 June 2018) a complaint to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) regarding its president’s visit to Bahrain.
GIDHR explained in its complaint that Bahrain is trying to whitewash its profile in front of the international community using sports. "It seems pretty clear that the Bahraini authorities have stepped up efforts to associate the country with major sporting events as glitzy cover for an ever-worsening human rights crackdown,” Amnesty International UK's head of policy and government affairs, Allan Hogarth, says.
GIDHR cited an interview with Bahrain’s national soccer star Alaa Hubail with ESPN as he explained how he was arrested. “They put me in the room for beatings. One of the people who hit me said: ‘I’m going to break your legs.’ They knew who we were. There was a special room for the torture.”
Moreover, Brian Cookson, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), reminded about how Sheikh Nasser abused his position as the president of several sports institutions to quash athletes who attempted to participate in the popular uprising.
GIDHR summed up by urging FIFA to press on the government of Bahrain to release all the detained sports people over political charges, investigate torture and ill-treatment allegations and hold the perpetrators accountable and halt all violations and inhumane practices.
GIDHR President, Yahya Alhadid said: “we have lodged the complaint today through FIFA’s new mechanism to receive the complaints related to human rights issues.” “We hope FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino had addressed the human rights violations against soccer players in Bahrain, whilst some of them are still detained over expressing their political opinions and personal believes as Hussien Mahdi.” he continued.