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Sportsjournalist arresteret

Fredag d. 15. april 2011

Bahraini sports journalist among hundreds arrested in government crackdown

MANAMA, April 15, 2011 - The human rights organisation, The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has reported the arrest of a local sports journalist to AIPS.

An email received today says Faisal Hayat, a journalist who worked for the local newspaper Albilad and who was "known for analysing football matches on popular sport shows on Arabic satellite channels" was detained on April 8 for participating in the Athletes' and Journalists' March during the protests on February 14.

The communique states that Faisal Hayat's photograph appeared on a show on the official Bahrain television station which attacked public figures who had participated in the protest.

The email further stated that "On 4 April Nasser Al-Khalifa, a son of the king of Bahrain and the head of Bahrain Olympic Committee, made an oral intervention on that show stating that restrictive measures will be taken against everybody who participated in anti-government protests during the last two months. Naser Al-Khalifa said: “..Bahrain is an island with no escape passage, everybody who interfered in these issues will be punished and everybody who took a stand (supporting the regime) will be awarded. The people who stood with or against the king are well-known to us ”.

AIPS President Gianni Merlo has urged Bahraini authorities to release Faisal Hayat. "We will always be on the side of journalists who are fighting to defend their rights and freedom," Merlo said.

"Our association will make an official complaint to the National Olympic Committee of Bahrain," Merlo added.

A number of sportsmen and athletes were detained for protesting against the Bahrain royal family. Local football star Al'a Hubail who became the first Bahraini player to win the prestigious Golden Boot Award along with his brother Mohammed was expelled from the national squad and arrested.

Meanwhile Al Jazeera reports that 200 athletes have been indefinitely suspended on charges of "supporting the popular revolution in the country".
Among them are nationally known basketball, volleyball, and handball players.

"All 200 have also been banned from any international play. All 200, like the overwhelming majority of demonstrators, are part of the country's oppressed Shi'a Muslim majority," the Al Jazeera report said, adding that "Shamefully, yet completely unsurprisingly, the Bahrain Football Association backed the move, saying "The suspension falls under misconduct, and the breaching of the rules and regulations of sporting clubs...not to engage in political affairs".

More than 400 citizens are estimated to have been arrested, while reports say hundreds have been fired for participating in the anti-government protests.