Hakeem al-Araibi campaigners say Bahraini footballer's case is urgent

30 Janvier, 2019, 06:36 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Hakeem Al Araibi is escorted into the Criminal Court by authorities in Bangkok Thailand 11 December 2018

Human rights groups, football governing bodies, and activists have made an worldwide push for Thailand to release al-Araibi, 25, who plays for the semi-professional football club Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne.

Bahrain's request for the extradition of Hakeem al-Araibi was received Monday and forwarded to prosecutors for deliberation, foreign ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said on Tuesday.

The footballer was sentenced in absentia by the Bahraini government to 10 years imprisonment following a conviction for allegedly vandalising a police station in 2014.

Human rights groups believe al-Araibi risks being tortured if sent back to Bahrain.

Thailand's attorney general is expected to decide within a week whether to proceed with the extradition case, said Chatchom Akapin, director general of the worldwide affairs department.

"If it is, then the request must be denied", he said.

Chatchom said that if the request did not fall in line with Thai extradition law then no request would be made to the court and Araibi would be released when his 60-day detention order expires on February 5.

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In a letter to the Canadian prime minister, she wrote: "Time is running out, and I am pleading desperately to you as a humanitarian, and someone who would not hesitate to stand with justice, please please help my husband".

Having met Federation Internationale de Football Association general-secretary Fatma Samoura, Foster said: "We agreed that this has now become an emergency situation requiring an escalation across the board form all stakeholders. We are in the process of exploring solutions", Prayut said.

"The Extradition Act of 2008 stated clearly that for a country with no extradition treaty with Thailand, like Bahrain, we have to see various factors including their government request to determine whether it falls in line with our laws", Chatchom said.

Al-Araibi has said he suspects he is being sought by Bahrain in part because of critical comments he made about the AFC leader.

The regional governing body, which has been criticised for its silence on the issue, is run by President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, who is a member of Bahrain's ruling family.

Sheik Salman is the current president of the Asian Football Confederation and once chaired a committee tasked with identifying athletes who participated in protests against the Government. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, and has a reputation for harsh repression since its failed "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Araibi has denied the claims vehemently. Salman was the target of criticism by Al-Araibi in 2016.

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