FIFA has told insidethegames it is "concerned" about the arrest of Council member Mahfuza Akhter Kiron in Bangladesh, after she was detained for allegedly defaming the country’s Prime Minister.
Kiron, who has been a member of FIFA’s Council since 2017 and is also head of the women’s branch of the Bangladesh Football Federation, was arrested at her home in Dhaka after accusing the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of favouring cricket over football.
According to reports, she has been denied bail and now faces up to two years in prison.
Human rights group Amnesty International called the situation “laughable” and demanded Kiron’s immediate release.
And FIFA has confirmed it is aware of the situation.
“FIFA is monitoring this matter with concern and is working closely with the AFC [Asian Football Confederation],” a spokesperson told insidethegames.
“We have requested further details about the situation of Ms Mahfuza Akhter and are awaiting information from the Bangladesh Football Federation.”
According to insideworldfootball, Kiron made her comments on a television talk show and a warrant for her arrest was issued after a viewer complained.
Her arrest follows the introduction of a new law in Bangladesh last year called the Digital Security Act, which allows the imprisonment of people for up to 10 years for expressing their views online.
In calling for Kiron’s release, Amnesty International said championing football “is not a crime”.
“Mahfuza Akhter Kiron was merely exercising her right to freedom of expression by stating that the Prime Minister favoured cricket over football,” read an Amnesty statement.
“If the implications of a defamation case were not so serious, it would be laughable.
“Mahfuza Akhter Kiron must be released immediately and unconditionally.”
According to Amnesty, over the past five months the authorities in Bangladesh have arrested 60 people under the act for criticising the Prime Minister and her family.