Bahraini Refugee: Thai court orders release of Hakeem al Araibi

12 February, 2019, 04:54 | Author: Donnie King
  • Detained Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al Araibi arrives at the criminal court in Bangkok Thailand

Al-Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and has refugee status in Australia, spent two months in a Thai prison following an Interpol notice issued by the Bahrain government.

We look forward to welcoming Hakeem home tomorrow morning.

Chatchom told BBC Thai they were informed by the Foreign Ministry that Bahrain wanted to drop the case, but he did not know the reason why.

Dissident Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi, photographed Feb.4 as he left court in Bangkok, was released a week later after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain.

But the soccer player disputed the charges, telling The New York Times that his innocence was easily documented because he appeared in a live televised match at the time of the incident.

But it added that the guilty verdict against him "remains in place" and "t$3 he Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr. Al Araibi".

Thailand has come under great worldwide pressure, from Australia, the football community and human rights groups, to send Mr al-Araibi back to Australia.

Al-Araibi was sentenced to 10 years in jail in absentia for what has become a widely discredited vandalism conviction. He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional football team.

"This is a win for humanity, for the power of citizens of the world demanding that human rights be protected", Foster said in a statement. The Shiite Muslim said he was targeted for his faith and because he had run afoul of Bahrain's ruling Sunni family owing to his brother's political activism.

"The credibility of the Bahrain legal system and this concept that they have of rule of law has been completely discredited", Mr Foster said.

He was arrested by Thai authorities on November 27 a year ago on an Interpol notice that was distributed against the organisation's own policies to not flag against refugees from the country they have fleed.

"Fifa is committed to protecting human rights". "Hakeem's ordeal ended after 70 days when there was a clear public stance and solidarity movement".

"My thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to the Thai (government) for upholding worldwide law", Foster posted on Twitter shortly after the news.

"I would like to say thanks to Australia". My thoughts are with Hakeem's wife.

"I prayed and prayed that he would come back to me, and finally our nightmare is ending", she said. Thailand and Bahrain do not have an extradition treaty but an extradition is possible in the spirit of reciprocation and cooperation.

After two months in a Bangkok prison the Bahraini refugee was released on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirming the news.

The Thai Foreign Ministry later refused to give details of why Bahrain asked for the case to be dropped.

Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia, was arrested in November previous year at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport while on a honeymoon trip, following an Interpol notice issued at the Gulf state's request.

Australia has acknowledged it notified Thai authorities about Araibi's travel, but vehemently rejected claims that it issued the initial red notice.

Following the development, his office resolved in a meeting that it would not proceed with the trial against al-Araibi.

"What we would like to do tonight is to thank and show our appreciation to the Thai government for the decision that they have taken today", he said.



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