Wednesday, July 13, 2011



As this is being written the US Team at The Women's World Football Cup has advanced to playing in the finals against Japan. With each advance the significance of the team showing solidarity with other footballers in Bahrain becomes more significant. Here's an appeal from the Human Rights First organization asking you to add your voice saying that the US Team should take a stand.
Guard The Line: Stand Up for Bahraini Athletes Supporting Democracy!
By 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.

Ask the members of the U.S. women’s soccer team to use the opportunity of appearing in the World Cup semifinals to publicly take a stand in support of Bahraini pro-democracy athletes.

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.

Ask the members of the U.S. women’s soccer team to stand in solidarity with their fellow soccer players and denounce Bahrain’s abusive treatment of its athletes.
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the USA Women's Team at the World Cup.
Dear U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team,

We are deeply concerned about reports that Bahraini soccer team members were tortured during the country’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists. Mohammed Hubail, A’ala Hubail, and Ali Saeed were reportedly abused during their detainment, according to friends and relatives. Additionally, Mohammed Hubail has been sentenced to two years in prison simply because he was involved in a wave of peaceful protests.

You will have the world’s attention as you take the field for the semifinal game with France tomorrow. The Bahraini government is hoping its abusive treatment of its athletes will pass unnoticed. We ask you to stand in solidarity with your fellow footballers and publicly denounce Bahrain’s treatment of its soccer players. Athlete should not be unjustly targeted by oppressive regimes because of their public prominence.

Please join us in speaking out against the arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture of athletes and all others who have been detained for peacefully expressing their views.

Thank you,

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