As we approach the opening of the World Equestrian Games 2014 set to take place in Normandy, France from the 23 August to 7 September, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) and Actions by Christians for the Abolition of Torture – France (ACAT France), call on your support to protest against Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, who has personally been implicated in directing and carrying out acts of torture. Sheikh Nasser, the son of the King of Bahrain, is scheduled to participate in the endurance discipline of the French-sponsored sporting event.
Well-known for his participation in the government crackdown on civil and political rights in Bahrain (during which Nasser launched a brutal campaign against athletes in particular); Sheikh Nasser has also been accused of directly engaging in acts of torture against political dissidents and respected members of the Bahraini community, including the Swedish citizen Sheikh Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad. These allegations have called into question his functional immunity within the United Kingdom, which is currently being reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Services.
This is not the first time that Prince Nasser’s participation in an international sporting event causes controversy. Nasser also competed in the 2013 IRONMAN races in Miami and Berlin, drawing outspoken objections by both spectators and participants. His participation this year in the Windsor Horse Show in Surrey, UK elicited a similar public outcry.
We call on all supporters of human rights to join us in our campaign via social media in the week of the race under the hashtag #TorturePrince starting on Monday 25 August. You can also sign up for our Thunderclap here. For those in France, please tweet any pictures of protests at the race site with our hashtag so that we may share them with our international supporters.