US Sports Website Reports Hunger Strike of Detained Bahraini Athlete Mohammad Mirza
2018-08-26 - 11:18 م
Bahrain Mirror: A sports website covered the news of the hunger strike launched by the Bahraini detained athlete, Jiu-Jitsu medalist, Mohammad Mirza, in solidarity with a fellow prisoner and opposition leader Hasan Mushaima.
Bloodyelbow website for MMA and UFC news indicated that Mirza launched his hunger strike to protest the treatment of Mushaima, a Bahraini opposition leader serving a life sentence for his role in Bahrain's pro-democracy protests and uprising. According to Mirza, Mushaima is being denied access to proper medical treatment, which has caused his health to deteriorate.
Mirza is also protesting his own poor treatment at Bahrain's Jaw prison, which includes lack of access to proper health care and restrictions on family visitations such as glass barriers, the website noted.
He chose to begin his hunger strike after filing five separate complaints with the prison to no avail.
Mohammad Mirza, who medaled for Bahrain at the 2008 Asian Open Championships in Thailand, was arrested on March 16, 2011 - one day after the Bahraini government declared a state of emergency in response to the uprising. He was detained at a checkpoint on suspicion of "kidnapping a police officer" and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Human rights activists believe he was forced to sign a confession after being subjected to various forms of torture at the hands of the Bahraini authorities.
Bahrain's monarchy has long used sports as a tool to distract from human rights abuses and to distort the reality of the regime's brutality. Examples of this include the annual Formula-1 event, offering Bahraini passports to foreign athletes to improve Olympic record, and hosting MMA events funded by the Bahraini king's son, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Mirza is not the only athlete who was detained during the uprising, according to the sports website. Bahrain has arrested scores of football, handball, and volleyball players since the 2011 uprising. Approximately 50 athletes were being detained, while another 150 were fired from their positions.