Newsletter #127

Bahrain | Updates from the Ground | News & Opinion

Saudi Arabia | Other Gulf States | UN Complaint Program


ADHRB, BIRD Urge FIFA to Reject Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa Bid for FIFA Presidency

Washington, D.C. – Amidst allegations of complicity in crimes against humanity, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, the President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and a member of the Bahraini royal family, today announced his candidacy for President of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). In light of these allegations, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) strongly urge FIFA leadership to reject his presidential bid and to pursue further investigations under FIFA’s Code of Ethics.

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More from ADHRB 

ADHRB Raises Concern over Bahrain Candidate for FIFA Presidency

Updates from the Ground

  • 5 arrested including 2 later released
  • Courts upheld, altered, or sentenced 6 individuals to 50 years in jail, collectively, and postponed 30 individuals had trials postponed 
  • The court of appeal amended the sentence of Zainab al-Khawaja to 1 year in prison and a fine of BHD3000; Zainab is awaiting the court’s ruling on other cases 
  • The public prosecution renewed the detention of former Bahraini Member of Parliament Sheikh Hasan Isa for an additional 15 days; he has now been imprisoned for more than 60 days
  • Security forces removed Ashoora banners and flags in at least 21 villages and suppressed protestors with birdshot and tear gas

Click here for the full report.

News and Opinion


Freedom in Bahrain: “It’s like a dream, isn’t it?”

Farida Ghulam, an advocate for freedom of speech, human rights and democracy, discusses her life advocating for democratic reform and women’s rights with her husband, Ebrahim Sharif, the former Secretary General of the National Democratic Action Society (WAAD). Sharif is currently in detention on trial on sham charges of inciting hatred and sectarianism, and calling for violence against the regime. He faces 10 years for expressing opinions in a speech after his release from prison earlier in the year. Read More

ADHRB and BIRD Tell BBC World Service Radio Why Sheikh Salman Not Fit to be FIFA President

Husain Abdulla, executive director of ADHRB, and Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Directory of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, discuss human rights in Bahrain and Sheikh Salman’s bid for the FIFA Presidency. Listen Here

Bahrain: Ongoing Judicial Harassment of Zainab al-Khawaja

On Zainab al-Khawaja’s 32nd birthday on October 21, the Bahrain Court of Appeals reduced the sentence against Ms. Zainab Al-Khawaja to one year imprisonment while upholding a fine of 3,000 BHD (approximately 8,000 USD), on charges of “insulting the King.” As per Bahraini law, if Ms. Al-Khawaja is unable or unwilling to pay the fine, an additional year and a half in prison will be added to her sentence. Zainab can be arrested at any time and faces more appeals in November and December. Read More

Rights Groups Deplore Bahrain Royal’s Entry in Race to Lead FIFA
Even before Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa’s entry into the race to succeed Sepp Blatter was confirmed on Monday, rights groups had called on FIFA to investigate accusations that Sheikh Salman, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, had failed to protect soccer players who were jailed for taking part in peaceful demonstrations against his family’s stranglehold on power in Bahrain. Read More

Sheikh Salman ‘headed committee targeting athletes in Bahrain protests’
Information published by Bahrain’s state media appears to cast doubt on claims by the Fifa presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa that he was not involved in taking action against athletes involved in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011, the Guardian can reveal. A document published in April 2011 and still available in Arabic on the Bahrain News Agency website outlines the creation of a special committee to identify athletes who took part in the demonstrations that it said would be headed by the Asian Football Confederation president. Sheikh Salman on Tuesday dismissed allegations against him of human rights abuses. Read more

Click here for a PDF of this article in English

Saudi Arabia

ADHRB, ESOHR Call on King Salman To Stay Imminent Execution of Human Rights Activist

Washington, DC – More than a year since a Saudi Arabian court sentenced leading opposition activist Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr to death, authorities announced that his appeal has been refused and his death sentence upheld. Sheikh al-Nimr’s family and lawyer reported on Saturday that both the Court of Appeals and the Saudi Supreme Court endorsed al-Nimr’s sentence, and sent his death sentence to King Salman for approval and to the Ministry of Interior for implementation of the court’s sentence of death by beheading. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) strongly condemn the news of Sheikh Nimr’s imminent execution; we call on King Salman to reject the court’s sentence and stay his execution.

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News and Opinion

Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for 16 after unrest 
Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia are seeking the death penalty for 16 people for alleged “terrorist” offences in the kingdom’s east, reports said on Thursday.  A total of two dozen people are accused in the case, including three who were on a list of 23 suspects wanted after pro-reform protests that began in early 2011 in eastern Saudi ArabiaRead More

A Pardon From Saudi Arabia’s King Might be the Last Hope for a Shiite Cleric Facing a Death Sentence

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against the death sentence passed this year on Shiite Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, placing him at risk of imminent execution. Nimr was shot four times and arrested in July 2012 during the height of the Arab Spring, and was detained for more than two years before being sentenced to death in October 2014. Read More

State Department Expresses Concern Over Sentencing of Two Members
of Saudi Civil & Political Rights Association (ACPRA)

The US Department of State released a statement expressing its concern over the lengthy prison sentences recently issued to ACPRA members Abdulkareem al-Khoder and Abdulrahman al-Hamid. The statement urged “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to uphold the fundamental right of freedom of expression for all of its citizens.”  Read More

Other Gulf States

UN Experts Condemn Detention of Qatari Poet

Today, United Nations human rights experts called for the release of the Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami on the second anniversary of his prison sentencing. Al-Ajami is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence in Doha for the contents of his poetry. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes the statement from the UN Special Rapporteurs and calls on the Government of Qatar to heed its recommendations by releasing al-Ajami immediately.

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News and Opinion

US Urges Fair Judicial Proceedings from UAE 

The State Department is urging the United Arab Emirates to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings amid reports the country has held a prominent activist for the last two months. Spokesman Edgar Vasquez says these standards should be upheld in “all cases.” He had no details on the case of Nasser bin Ghaith, an academic whom rights groups say was arrested on Aug. 18. Emirati authorities haven’t revealed his whereabouts since. Read More

Testimonies from the #YemenCrisis

Since March 2015, the full-scale ‘regionalized’ civil war in Yemen has caused a widespread yet under-reported humanitarian crisis that could pave the way for the country’s disintegration. Doctors without Borders (MSF) staff working within Yemen give interviews detailing the challenges they face on the ground. Read More

Qatari Foreign Minister on FIFA 2022: Qatars was ‘transparent from day one’

On Deutsche Welle, Qatar Foreign Minister of Qatar Khalid al-Attiyah defended his country regarding allegations about human rights abuses and corruption in the 2022 FIFA World Cup process during an appearance, saying Qatar puts “human rights first” and has been “transparent from day one.” Al-Attiyah claims that the problem is with how the world views Qatar: “Some people…cannot digest that a small country like Qatar, and Islamic country in the Middle East, can host the 2022 cup.”  Read More

Are you a victim of a human rights abuse in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or other GCC states?

Document your case with the Special Procedures of the United Nations through ADHRB’s UN Complaint Program.

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