An update on Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention

23 12 2018

Football figures have joined with human rights groups in calling on “FIFA and the Australian government to intervene to stop a Melbourne-based refugee and semi-professional soccer player being extradited from Thailand to Bahrain.”

Hakeem al-Araibi, who has refugee status in Australia, is being detained in Thailand. Despite the facts that he is a refugee and that Thailand has no extradition treaty with Bahrain, the extradition process continues under opaque Thai law.

In Melbourne, “former Australia captain Craig Foster and Amnesty International Australia lawyer Diana Sayed called on Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, plus FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, to stop Thailand extraditing al-Araibi.”

Foster spoke for Professional Footballers Australia, the player’s representative body:

Australia’s footballers implore FIFA and the AFC to comply with their own rules of governance to demand the return of Hakeem to Australia…. FIFA and the AFC have a constitutional obligation to not only observe the human rights of their participants but proactively promote such rights.

Sayed called for the Australian government to pressure the Thai military junta. Unaccountably, Australia’s Home Affairs Ministry reported al-Araibi’s holiday in Thailand, despite allowing him to travel and his refugee status. This ministry is run by rightists and has a poor reputation on everything to do with refugees.

FIFA has previously urged that al-Araibi be returned to Australia. Australia’s Foreign Minister has also called for al-Araibi to be released and returned to Australia.

Lawyer Sayed stated:

We know the history of human rights violations in Bahrain and so it makes Hakeem’s case and current detention in Thailand even more important for the international community, and for (the) Australian football federation and others to stand behind him at his time because there is a very real risk that he could be extradited back to Bahrain.

It seems footballers and human rights activists have no faith that Thailand’s royalist government will do anything sensible. Why Thailand is supporting Bahrain is only a mystery if one forgets that there are strong links between the palaces in both countries.



One response

7 05 2019
Monarchy, Bahrain and a refugee | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] has a unique hook for the story:an account of why “refugee and footballer Hakeem al-Araibi was imprisoned for more than two months on a Bahraini Interpol red notice that should never have been […]

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