Two human rights groups have asked the FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to take out Bahrainâ€™s candidate from the contest to become the president of the Asian football governing body AFC on the account that the Bahraini royal has violated human rights.
In a letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa was not a suitable person to fill the post.
â€œSheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is involved in human rights violations with the assistance of his office and consultants against players, administrators, referees and clubs who participated in the democracy protests in February 2011,â€ the two groups wrote in the letter.
The letter added, â€œWe hope that you bear in mind the sublime principles of sport and fair play that respect basic human rights and to distance all violators of human rights from reaching prestigious sport positions in order to embellish their notorious image.â€
On April 23, the Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) sent a letter to the AFC delegates, urging them not to vote for Sheikh Salman.
â€œUnder the direction of Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa, head of the Bahrain Football Association and member of Bahrainâ€™s royal family, football players were arrested, detained, abused, tortured, and publicly humiliated,â€ the group said.
The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011. The Manama regime promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states. Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses.
A report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November 2011 found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and protesters.
Bahrainis say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met.