Wednesday, June 08, 2011

As F1 returns to Bahrain, footballers languish in jail

CNN: 'The 28-year-old striker had been instrumental in Bahrain's greatest footballing achievement, reaching the semi-finals of the 2004 Asian Cup, where he finished joint top scorer.

His goals also helped Bahrain reach two World Cup qualifying play-offs, failing to reach Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 by just a single goal on both occasions. Remarkable achievements for a country with fewer than a million citizens.

But heroes are made or broken on slim margins.

In February Hubail ceased to be a national hero to some in Bahrain after he, his brother Mohamed and fellow national team regular Sayed Mohamed Adnan -- who was nominated for the 2009 Asian Player of The Year award -- were arrested following violent February protests that nearly brought down Bahrain's Al Khalifa royal family.

All three were sacked from their club sides and effectively banned form playing on the national team.

The authorities say they were part of illegal, violent protests; international and local human rights groups say that the players, along with more than 150 sportsmen, women and administrators, were being punished for protesting peacefully against the government.

"The violence and abuse is so huge. We have too much work. We can't cope here. A lot of doctors, a lot of people have been targeted, soccer players, basketball players, handball players, teachers, unionists," said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights.'

No comments :