The Football Gulf Cup in Bahrain: Athletes in Prison and In Front of Court

Photo: logo of the Football Gulf Cup

04 January 2013

Prepared by: Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR)

Introduction:

This report is released on the occasion of holding the Football Gulf Cup in Bahrain from 5th to 18th January 2013. This report, which is being released in collaboration with “National Committee for the Defense of athletes”, observes the names of athletes who have been subjected to violations since the protests in 14 February 2011 – until now; the Bahraini authorities had suppressed the protests of 14 February and arrested thousands of citizens due to expressing their opinions.

The Cases:

The Bahraini authorities pressed “criminal” charges against the athletes in order to punish them for their participation in the protests, the cases are as follows:

1. The case of attempted murder and assembling in the Pearl Roundabout: the accused is Mr. Hamad Al-Fahad, a specialist in motor sport, and the date of arrest is 17 February 2011. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in a military court that does not meet the requirements of fair trial.

2. The case of kidnapping a security officer: all the ones accused were acquitted except for the Bahrain and Gulf champion in the Jiu Jitsu sport Mr. Mohammed Mirza who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, noting that he was arrested in a checkpoint after he was subjected to various types of physical and mental torture in a number of detention centers. He was forced to sign a confession that states him carrying out the crime of kidnap.

3. The case of assembling near the Financial Harbour: the ones accused are two handball players from the Etihad club, and they are Mr. Murtadha Salah Darwish and Mr. Jassim Ramadan, and the sports fan Mr. Baqer Al-Shaabani. The first was kidnapped from his room without his parent’s knowledge. The houses of the second and third were raided without a raid and arrest warrant. The accused were subjected to various types of physical and mental torture, confirming that there is no evidence that condemns the accused, except for the confessions that are extracted under torture and duress.

4. The case of ‘Rayat-al-Izz’ (assembling in the village of Nuwaidrat): the accused are four athletes, three of them play for Nuwaidrat Club, and they are Mr. Ali Dhaif, Mr. Ali Faisal, Mr. Ghassan Abbas, and the fourth plays for the Ahli Club and he is Mr. Ahmed Hasan Abdul-wahab. All the accused were arrested arbitrarily without showing a warrant to raid their houses or to arrest them. They have been subjected to various sorts of physical and mental torture.

5. The “handball” national team player Mr. Ali Al-Mulani: he was arrested from a checkpoint, and he faced a military trial. The court sentenced him to 3 years in prison, and the Civil Court upheld the verdict of the Military Court.

6. The endurance race “equestrian sports” supervisor Mr. Mahmood Abdul-Saheb: he is accused in four cases of assembling. The civil courts upheld the verdict of the military verdict of three years in prison.

7. The “volleyball” national team player Mr. Saleh Mahdi: he turned himself in at a detention center, and he was one of those accused of participating in the athletes demonstration (a demonstration held in the Pearl Roundabout), the Public Prosecutor dropped the charges against them, however he was brought forth to a military trial during the State of Emergency and the court sentenced him to 5 years in prison; the sentence was later commuted to two years and a half.

8. The Nasser Club “volleyball” player Mr. Ridha Abdul-Hussein: he was arbitrarily arrested and sentenced in a military court since he works in the military. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

The Detainees:

1. Mr. Jaffar Al-Asfoor, Mr. Amjad Al-‘Adhab, Mr. Salman Amer, Mr. Ahmed Al-Saudi, Mr. Ahmed Marhoon and Mr. Ali Jawad Al-Asfoor (they play for the Etifaq Club).

2. Mr. Mohammed Khamis and Mr. Hakeem Al-Arabi (they play for the Shabab Club).

3. Mr. Abdullah Alawai and Mr. Mahdi (they play for the Bahrain Club).

4. Mr. Hasan Abdul-Jalil Al-Ekri and Mr. Hussein Al-Sardoob (they play for the Etihad Club).

5. Mr. Ridha Hasan.

6. Mr. Hussein Abdul-Ghani “a gymnast”.

7. Mr. Hussein Shamsan.

8. Mr. Abulla Saai “an administrator in the junior team in the Malkiya Club”

Recommendations:

1. To immediately release the athletes who are being prosecuted for expressing their opinions;
2. To stop targeting the athletes and allow them to express their opinion in a peaceful manner;
3. To immediately and urgently investigate the allegations of torture and abuse.

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