World News

Australia U23 team scrap Thailand visit over Hakeem Al-Araibi detention

Australia U23 team scrap Thailand visit over Hakeem Al-Araibi detention

According to the Guardian, coach Graham Arnold said Australian national teams stood with al-Araibi, who faces a further two months in a Thai jail before discovering his fate.

The Twitter hashtags #BoycottThailand and #SaveHakeem were trending on Tuesday as Thai prosecutors appealed for the extradition of Araibi, according to local daily Bangkok Post.

With growing calls for Thailand and Bahrain to face sanctions over the latter's attempts to have Al-Araibi extradited from Thailand, plans for the Australian U23 team to play China in a friendly in Bangkok have been abandoned.

A chained al-Araibi yelled to reporters outside court as he was escorted by prison guards into Monday's hearing in Bangkok.

Bahrain wants him returned to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia in 2014.

Five years ago when Hakeem arrived in Australia, Hill interviewed the Bahrainian footballer, who at the time was very critical of Sheikh Salman, the current President of the Asian Football Confederation and member of the House of Khalifa, the Royal Family of Bahrain.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously called on his Thai counterpart to release the 25-year-old, saying that returning him to Bahrain would infringe on his rights under worldwide law.

Rights groups and the Australian government have repeatedly called for Araibi's return and the case has become a cause celebre in the football world, with FIFA also urging the Thai premier to intervene.

"It took several days after the arrival of Mr. Hakeem before the Australian authorities informed us that the red notice had been cancelled".

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Australia continued to advocate on al-Araibi's behalf at the highest levels in both Thailand and Bahrain, Payne said.

But as a sovereign country that has legal obligations and commitments to the global community, Thailand finds itself in the middle of a case involving two countries competing for Mr Hakeem's custody.

"Thailand's office of the Attorney-General has publicly confirmed that Thailand's Extradition Act allows for executive discretion in such cases".

Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture.

Lt. Gen. Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn said the recent case of the young Saudi woman briefly held then allowed to depart a refugee can not be compared to that of refugee athlete AlAraibi because the latter was the subject of an arrest warrant justifying his detention.

Australia's ambassador to Thailand, who appeared at the court Monday with AlAraibi, said in a statement that Bahrain had never requested AlAraibi's extradition in the four years he has lived in Australia.

The signatories included the Human Rights Lawyers Association, the Union for Civil Liberty, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, labour unions and law and human rights lecturers.

FFA on Wednesday cancelled a trip to Bangkok which was scheduled as part of a proposed pre-AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers camp. Bahrain fails to mention the court ignored evidence that only minutes before the time of the alleged crime, Al-Araibi was playing in a televised football match broadcast on national television.


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