ECPM and several NGOs call on Paris City Hall to oppose the Kingdom of Bahrain’s “sport whitewashing” campaign
2 February 2021
For the immediate and unconditional release of 12 men sentenced to death for crimes they confessed under torture and the imposition of an official moratorium on the application of the death penalty in Bahrain.
This Tuesday, on February 2, 2021, the Council of Paris will announce its position on the renewal of the yearly 500, 000€ subvention allocated to the Paris FC. On July 27 2020, the Paris Football Club announced having concluded an agreement with the Kingdom of Bahrain, granting it 20% of the club’s shares. Since 2011, the government of Bahrain operates a violent repression against any form of opposition and violates the human rights of its population. By associating itself to popular sports such as soccer, the Kingdom’s authorities attempt to distract the general public and whitewash its abuses - a practice called Sport-Whitewashing. As a result, since the beginning of the 2020-2021 season, the words “Victorious Bahrain” appear on the Paris jerseys.
In face of the grave human rights violations committed by the government of Bahrain, and considering the commitment of the Mairie de Paris for those same rights, and the signatories of this declaration demand:
1. That the Mairie de Paris publicly reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty and its support for the political prisoners of Bahrain.
2. That the Council of Paris engages in discussions with the representatives of the Paris FC with the aim of integrating awareness and a dialogue on the questions of human rights protection and promotion to their relationship.
3. In this same spirit, that the interventions and diverse socio-educational programs organized by the club with youth in the city of Paris, includes a dimension on the stakes related to human rights and the abolition of the death penalty.
The Mairie de Paris is one of the oldest partners of the Paris FC, and has a duty to pursue its historic and ideological commitment in favor of the defense for human rights and the fight for the abolition of the death penalty. Its elected officials have often expressed their firm and worldwide opposition to the death penalty. In 2018, the Council of Paris decided to grant the Paris City honorific citizenship to Nabeel Rajab. The Mayor of Paris had then declared that this gesture contributed to “shed light on the situation […] of any person who, to this day, is imprisoned or persecuted in the world as a consequence of lacking freedom of expression, opinion et information […] the City of Paris is really attached to those principles.” More recently, the president of the Council of Paris commission recalled that the Council of Paris “will continue to mobilize itself for all those who are arbitrarily detained” by an oppressive regime.
In 2017, the Bahraini authorities put an end to the moratorium on the death penalty which had been in place since 1996. Arrested and detained arbitrarily, tortured until they confessed crimes they had not committed or judged in mass trials, Ali al-Singace, Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Arab et Ahmed al-Malali were all executed between 2017 and 2019. Currently, 12 men are on death row without any judicial recourse left at their disposal: ayed Ahmed al-Abbar, Husain Ali Mohamed, Husain Abdulla Marhoon Rashid, Moosa Abdulla Moosa Jaafar, Husain Ebrahim Ali Husain Marzooq, Salman Isa Ali Salman, Maher Abbas al-Khabaz, Zuhair Ibrahim Jasim Abdullah, Husain Abdulla Khalil Rashid, Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Ali Moosa Hussain. One of them, Mohamed Ramadan, has namely explained that officers who interrogated and tortured him had told him they knew he was innocent and they were they were only “waiting for a major case to frame [him] in.”
The 12 men currently on death row are at imminent risk of execution. Discussions between members of the Council of Paris, and the City’s partners could save the lives of those innocent political prisoners, imprisoned as a consequence of their implication in the pro-democracy movement, as had been Nabeel Rajab. In the current situation, the Mairie de Paris, City of human rights, benefits from an ideal platform to engage, in the form of official declarations and crucial dialogues, for the defense of human rights. In thanks to the mobilization of the international community, and notably of the Mairie de Paris, Nabeel Rajab had finally been released last June. In the last months, a number of public and political figures as well as inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations have condemned the violence of the regime in place.
We take advantage of this momentum to obtain an official moratorium on the application of the death penalty in Bahrain.
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Fédération Internationale pour les Droits de l’Homme - International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Ligue des Droits de l’Homme - Human Rights League (LDH)
Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort - Together Against Death Penalty (ECPM)
Coalition Mondiale contre la Peine de Mort - World Coalition Against Death Penalty
Avocats Sans Frontières France - Lawyers Without Borders (ASF France)
Association des Chrétiens contre la Torture et la Peine de Mort - Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT)