Middle East

Bahrain bars Human Rights Watch staffer from FIFA event

An activist with Human Rights Watch says authorities in Bahrain barred him from entering the tiny island nation for the annual FIFA congress.

Omar Shakir told The Associated Press that security officials said he couldn't enter the country Tuesday as he wasn't on an approved list provided by the world soccer federation and would have to immediately depart.

Shakir says at one point, an angry Bahraini official told him: "If you don't go buy your ticket now, we'll do it by force." He flew out of Bahrain on Wednesday morning.

Bahrain's government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shakir says he only made the trip to discuss Israeli football teams playing on settlements.

Bahrain is waging a wide-scale crackdown on dissent.