The Club


La Balle aux Prisonniers (LaBAP)– is an international non-governmental human rights organization set up in 2016. LaBAP seeks to improve the living conditions of prisoners and help with their rehabilitation – first and foremost by promoting sport in prison, along with all other forms of cultural or social activity.

International and regional human rights bodies regularly condemn appalling prison conditions, including rundown buildings, shortages and lack of awareness among prison staff, and a lack of activities. Overcrowding is all too common and compounds the problems intrinsic to prison life.

Sport, however, drives social change for development. It gives prison inmates an escape from their daily routine and, as a vehicle for education, development and peace, it promotes cooperation, solidarity, tolerance, understanding, social integration and health.

In carrying out its programmes in line with international and regional human rights instruments, LaBAP takes its inspiration from the principles underpinning sport – namely respect for others, playing by the rules, being a team player and sportsmanship.

The team

Executive Committee

Lionel GRASSY (France, Belgium) Executive Committee member and founder member – Director of Operations
Ninety minutes of freedom for body and mind can produce hundreds of smiles, shared emotions and a new zest for life. It's like saying: ‘The ball's with you!’ Having studied international humanitarian and human rights law, Lionel has been working with detainees for over a decade. He was National Coordinator for Prisonniers Sans frontières (Prisoners without Borders) in Niger, before becoming Regional Coordinator for seven West African countries. At the same time he launched sports tournaments in prisons, with detainees, judicial authorities and members of civil society playing together. Today, as the FIACAT's Advocacy Director, he campaigns against torture before international and regional organisations that promote and protect human rights (UN/EU). He is an avid lecturer in international human rights law and also oversees a programme that aims to combat abusive pre-trial detention and strengthen the legal rights of defendants.
Nicolas HUET (France) Executive Committee member and founder member – Administrative and Financial Director
Nicolas HUET
Sport for all, by all, everywhere, even in prison. That's what sport is all about: pushing ourselves, interacting with others, having fun together. Having graduated in modern history, Nicolas went on to specialise in international solidarity and humanitarian issues. Serving as Administrative and Finance Officer for 4 years in a human rights NGO, he accompanied various partners in the implementation of project-related activities and strengthened compliance with the procedures and rules laid down by the various international funders. Today, Nicolas serves as Administrative and Finance Coordinator with ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) and has a particular interest in defending children’s rights. A great lover of sport, Nicolas has always wanted to work more closely with people who play sport, whoever and wherever they may be.

National Coordinators

Olympe KONAN (Côte d’Ivoire) National Coordinator, Côte d’Ivoire
Olympe KONAN
I want to share my passion for sport and bring hope to the sad and hopeless hellishness of prison life. With a technical degree in commercial management, Olympe spends his spare time with prisoners in Côte d’Ivoire. In particular he assists detainees with their cases before going to trial, makes sure that legal guarantees are maintained and helps with the follow-up to their cases with the prison and judicial authorities. Olympe Fervent is both a human rights activist and big fan of sport. He has chosen to join LaBAP because he would like to share his passion for sport with prisoners, help them overcome idleness and prepare for life on the outside.
Christian MUKENI (Democratic Republic of Congo) National Coordinator, Democratic Republic of Congo
Christian MUKENI
My passion: To play football with the prisoners for the strengthening of their social reintegration.For more than 10 years Christian MUKENI NSAMBAY has been a defender of human rights and has worked with various Congolese civil society organisations, namely: Association for Human Promotion (APROHU); Food Consumers Association (ASCOVI); the Information Centre for Missionary Animation (CIAM); and the Network for Christian-inspired Human Rights and Education Organizations (RODHECIC). Additionally, he is an independent human rights researcher. Inspired by LaBAP’s mission, he did not hesitate a single moment in becoming a member and active supporter of LaBAP’s operations in the DRC.
Herman MIDDAH (Niger) National Coordinator, Niger
Sharing your time, sharing your food, practicing sport behind the walls of the prison is a space for exchange and freedom and a glimmer of hope for the prisoners. My joy is to allow every human being to enjoy the same rights even behind bars. Holding a master's degree in accounting, Herman began his involvement with the poor as an accountant with Taabi ban, a microfinance agency of World Vision in Niamey. Its role was to accompany the micro activities of Nigerian women organized as cooperatives. It subsequently integrated the African Meteorological Center for Development (ACMAD). During those years, he became involved as a militant with Prisoners Sans Frontières. Incarcerated at the Niamey Civil Prison for 18 months, this allowed him to feel the difficulties of the prison environment and to better understand the needs of the detainees. He took advantage of his detention status to accompany inmates during their court proceedings (facilitating the drafting of requests for hearings, follow-up of files, etc.), which earned him the nickname "Prosecutor". He was appointed as a peer educator by the NGO Solthis to educate his fellow prisoners on issues of public health, access to law, treatment of pathologies and mental health in prison. Now out of prison, passionate about sports and football, Herman continues to use the company's forgotten skills with La Balle Aux Prisonniers.

The rules

Established in 2016, LaBAP is an NGO recognized under France's law of 1901 on non-profit organizations.

The budget

As it has only just begun operating, LaBAP does not yet have certified accounts. We will post the income received from donations, dues and subsidies, together with the association's outgoings to fund activity in the field, on this page.

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