7-12-2011By Quinn O’Keefe
Senior Associate, Human Rights Defenders
The Women’s World Cup semifinal will take place tomorrow in Germany where the U.S. women’s soccer team has already given fans reason to cheer the players’ skill, resolve and tenacity. Half a world away, the government of Bahrain has launched a brutal attack on its athletes. It has suspended over 150 athletes, coaches and referees for supporting the democracy movement and arrested several others. The Bahraini government is hoping that its crackdown will pass unnoticed. We must not allow them to succeed.
The good news is that many Bahraini athletes have been released. But several were tortured and humiliated while in custody including soccer player Mohammed Hubail and his brother, striker A’ala Hubail, as well as goalkeeper Ali Saeed. Mohammed was recently sentenced to two years in prison during a sham military trial. Now, he and others fear another round of detention and torture if they speak out to journalists.
The U.S. women’s national soccer team will compete on the world stage again as they play against France in the Women’s World Cup semifinals tomorrow. They’ll have every soccer fan’s attention.