Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has been elected the new president of the Asian Football Confederation(AFC), despite protests by rights groups over his involvement in human rights violations.
The election process was carried out in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday. Sheikh Salman replaced Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam, who stepped down in 2012 over allegations of bribery and financial mismanagement.

The Bahraini sheikh gathered 33 of the 46 ballots, two - thirds majority of votes necessary to win, beating rival Yousef Al Serkal from the United Arab Emirates and Thailand’s Worawi Makudi in the first round of voting.

In April, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said in a letter to Sepp Blatter, the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association(FIFA), that Sheikh Salman was not a suitable person to fill the post.

" Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is involved in human rights violations with the assistance of his office and consultants against players, administrators, referees and clubs who participated in the democracy protests in February 2011, ” the two groups stated in the letter.

On April 23, the Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain(ADHRB) sent a letter to the AFC delegates, urging them not to vote for Sheikh Salman.

" Under the direction of Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa, head of the Bahrain Football Association and member of Bahrain’s royal family, football players were arrested, detained, abused, tortured, and publicly humiliated, ” the group said.

The Bahraini uprising began in mid - February 2011. The Manama regime promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi - led Arab forces from neighboring states. Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses.