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Feet shackled, Bahraini footballer arrives at Thai court to fight extradition


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Feet shackled, Bahraini footballer arrives at Thai court to fight extradition

By Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panarat Thepgumpanat

 

2019-02-04T035125Z_1_LYNXNPEF13064_RTROPTP_4_THAILAND-BAHRAIN-REFUGEE.JPG

Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi arrives at Thailand's Criminal Court to submit his evidence to fight his extradition, after a local prosecutor submitted Bahrain's extradition request for him, in Bangkok, Thailand February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Hakeem Al Araibi, a jailed Bahraini footballer who fled his country and has refugee status in Australia, arrived on Monday in a Thai court, his feet in shackles, to fight an extradition request from Bahrain.

 

Reporters, activists, and officials, including Australian ambassador-designate to Thailand Allan McKinnon, waited to greet Araibi, who was led into the courthouse wearing a beige prison uniform.

 

"Don't send me to Bahrain," said the footballer, who says he faces persecution and torture if he is sent back.

 

Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014 before being granted permanent residence in Australia, where he played for Pascoe Vale, a second-tier soccer club in Melbourne, was arrested while on honeymoon in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.

 

Former Australian soccer captain Craig Foster, who has been campaigning around the world for Araibi's release, was also at the court to show support for the Bahraini refugee.

 

"Your wife sent her love, Australia is with you, buddy," Foster shouted to Araibi who waved back to supporters. "Stay strong, Hakeem."

 

Last week, a Thai prosecutor submitted the Bahraini extradition request to the court, saying it showed Araibi had committed criminal wrongdoing and so should be extradited.

 

Araibi was convicted of vandalising a police station in Bahrain and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.

He denies wrongdoing, saying he was playing in a televised football match at the time of the alleged vandalism.

 

"Hakeem will tell the court that he will not go back to Bahrain," his lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman, told Reuters before Monday's hearing, adding that the court would then set the date for the next hearing.

 

"We are not worried about the law because we have evidence to show that he should not be sent to Bahrain."

Court proceedings on Araibi's extradition "will take months," said Chatchom Akapin, an official of the Thai attorney general's office.

 

(Additional reporting and writing by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-04
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This is so very wrong on so many levels.

Although I am not particularly  sympathetic to the opponents of the cruel Bahrain dictatorship, the harsh treatment of a legitimate political refugee under the protection of Australia, gives a very negative image of Thailand. 

 

I have the impression that the powers that be are more interested in keeping a small group of super rich despots happy than in respecting international law, and upholding basic human rights.  The poor chap must be released to Australia without delay. I hope that Australia takes all available measures including the imposition of sanctions if this continues. 

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The young lady that was recently sent from Thai to Canada (BTW happy for her) did not even have refugee status. However she had a phone and huge social media exposure. This guy already has Au refugee status. Held on bogus notice that was subsequently withdrawn. Now a whitewash trial. 

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He won't be able to score many goals with those on.

He's not a murderer or has committed a serious crime

so the shackles are over the top.

regards worgeordie

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21 minutes ago, CelticBhoy said:

Are those shackles really necessary?

Leave the guy with some dignity, <deleted>!

 

6 minutes ago, worgeordie said:

He won't be able to score many goals with those on.

He's not a murderer or has committed a serious crime

so the shackles are over the top.

regards worgeordie

That, sadly is the way that every person on remand goes to court. Prison uniform and shackles on the ankles. While at home we put on a suit and try to look presentable, the system here makes every person, innocent or not look like a criminal.

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15 minutes ago, darksidedog said:

 

That, sadly is the way that every person on remand goes to court. Prison uniform and shackles on the ankles. While at home we put on a suit and try to look presentable, the system here makes every person, innocent or not look like a criminal.

Disgusting. And no shoes.

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Almost an identical case with that Saudi girl who wasn't even a refugee in fact came from a well off family.

He's a man with no iphone by the looks of it. Social media and Canada won't save him.

He may end up back in Bahrain otherwise Thailand might start looking soft on these issues.

No guarantee Australia will take him. If Thais deport him at 2am on a Emirates flight that's it.

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1 hour ago, darksidedog said:

 

That, sadly is the way that every person on remand goes to court. Prison uniform and shackles on the ankles. While at home we put on a suit and try to look presentable, the system here makes every person, innocent or not look like a criminal.

They couldn't even let him wear flip flops?

 

This picture (and the whole circumstance) is a disgrace to Thailand.

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5 minutes ago, Lucius verus said:

Almost an identical case with that Saudi girl who wasn't even a refugee in fact came from a well off family.

No it is not.

 

5 minutes ago, Lucius verus said:

He's a man with no iphone by the looks of it.

He has no iphone because he is in detention.

 

6 minutes ago, Lucius verus said:

Social media and Canada won't save him.

Canada?

 

6 minutes ago, Lucius verus said:

He may end up back in Bahrain otherwise Thailand might start looking soft on these issues.

Soft on what issues? Thailand regularly ignores interpol notices for years. What are you talking about?

 

7 minutes ago, Lucius verus said:

No guarantee Australia will take him.

As he is a permanent resident of Australia and government ministers of Australia have intervened on his behalf, I can assure they will.

 

You never to do a little research here. You are seriously confused.

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5 minutes ago, Lucius verus said:

Almost an identical case with that Saudi girl who wasn't even a refugee in fact came from a well off family.

He's a man with no iphone by the looks of it. Social media and Canada won't save him.

He may end up back in Bahrain otherwise Thailand might start looking soft on these issues.

No guarantee Australia will take him. If Thais deport him at 2am on a Emirates flight that's it.

The huge difference is that there was an international arrest warrant out for this guy and there wasnt one for the Saudi woman .

   Difficult situation for Thailand , as Thailand is just required to arrest him and send him back to where he faces a trail , its not up tp Thailand to pass judgement on whether he is guilty or not or whether he deserves is jail sentence or to go on trial in Bahrain 

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I would have thought that they would have learned something from what happened after they sent the plane load of Uighurs back to a murderous dictatorship, guess not. 

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Thai court sets extradition hearing of Bahraini footballer for April

By Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panarat Thepgumpanat

 

2019-02-04T031724Z_1_LYNXNPEF1303F_RTROPTP_4_THAILAND-BAHRAIN-REFUGEE.JPG

Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi arrives at Thailand's Criminal Court to submit his evidence to fight his extradition, after a local prosecutor submitted Bahrain's extradition request for him, in Bangkok, Thailand February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi, who fled political upheaval in the Middle East nation and has refugee status in Australia, will spend at least two more months in prison in Thailand after a court set an extradition hearing for April.

 

The case has drawn appeals from Australia’s prime minister and football's world governing body, FIFA, for Thailand to release Araibi and send him back to Australia, on the grounds that he could face torture in Bahrain, which sought the extradition.

 

Australian ambassador-designate to Thailand Allan McKinnon and diplomats from at least 13 countries greeted Araibi as he arrived at the courthouse in the Thai capital on Monday, wearing beige prison uniform, with shackles on his feet.

 

"Don't send me to Bahrain," said the footballer, who was arrested in Thailand in November while on his honeymoon and says that he faces persecution and torture if sent back to Bahrain.

 

The court gave the defence team until April 5 to submit documents opposing the extradition, and set April 22 for a preliminary hearing of witnesses and evidence, said defence lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman.

 

"We are not worried about the law because we have evidence to show that he should not be sent to Bahrain," Bergman told Reuters before Monday's hearing.

 

A Thai prosecutor submitted the Bahraini extradition request to the court last week, saying it showed Araibi had committed criminal wrongdoing and so should be extradited.

 

Supporters say that Araibi, as a recognised refugee, should be released and sent back to Australia instead.

 

"Thailand has really been used by Bahrain in this situation," said former Australian football captain Craig Foster, who has been campaigning around the world for Araibi's release, and was at the court.

 

"The Thai prime minister should simply step up and say this is a politically motivated charge, that the international reputation of Thailand is being damaged, and that Hakeem Al Araibi should immediately be released," Foster told Reuters.

 

Thailand's judiciary will decide the matter, the country's deputy foreign minister said.

 

"Even though he has refugee status from Australia, there is an official extradition request from Bahrain, which has to go through our judicial process," Virasakdi Futrakul told Reuters.

 

"We do not use political decision in this matter," he added. "The government will not interfere with the judiciary."

 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and sport officials such as Fatma Samoura, the secretary-general of football's world governing body, FIFA, and Praful Patel, vice president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), have also urged Araibi's release.

 

Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014 before being granted permanent residence in Australia, where he played for Melbourne's Pascoe Vale football club, was arrested on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.

 

Interpol later cancelled the notice.

 

Araibi was tortured by Bahraini authorities because of his brother's political activities during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, New York-based Human Rights Watch has said.

 

Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture.

 

Araibi was convicted of vandalising a police station in Bahrain and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.

 

He denies wrongdoing, saying he was playing in a televised football match at the time of the alleged vandalism.

 

(Additional reporting and writing by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-04
 
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28 minutes ago, sanemax said:

Difficult situation for Thailand , as Thailand is just required to arrest him and send him back to where he faces a trail , its not up tp Thailand to pass judgement on whether he is guilty or not or whether he deserves is jail sentence or to go on trial in Bahrain 

This is not a true picture. Thailand routinely ignores interpol notices. Thailand is not "just required" to arrest him and send him back. There is no requirement at all for Thailand to arrest him if they choose not to. And if they do, the extradition process is long and complex and should consider many aspects.

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Silly man.  He  only had refugee status in Australia and was going through a process and he decides to leave Australia possibly thinking he had the rights of an Australian citizen.  No longer Australia's problem as he left the countru

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30 minutes ago, sanemax said:

The huge difference is that there was an international arrest warrant out for this guy and there wasnt one for the Saudi woman .

   Difficult situation for Thailand , as Thailand is just required to arrest him and send him back to where he faces a trail , its not up tp Thailand to pass judgement on whether he is guilty or not or whether he deserves is jail sentence or to go on trial in Bahrain 

The Interpol Red Notice by which he was arrested in Thailand was issued in error and has been rescinded. Interpol rules are that anyone arrested who has official refugee status must not be transferred back to their home country (refoulement). Thailand would be in breach of international law if they extradited the man to Bahrain. Thailand as a member of Interpol so must know the rules. It's unbelievable Thailand is carrying on with this farce.

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9 minutes ago, Thechook said:

Silly man.  He  only had refugee status in Australia and was going through a process and he decides to leave Australia possibly thinking he had the rights of an Australian citizen.  No longer Australia's problem as he left the countru

I doubt you never made a mistake in your life.

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25 minutes ago, simple1 said:

The Interpol Red Notice by which he was arrested in Thailand was issued in error and has been rescinded. Interpol rules are that anyone arrested who has official refugee status must not be transferred back to their home country (refoulement). Thailand would be in breach of international law if they extradited the man to Bahrain. Thailand as a member of Interpol so must know the rules. It's unbelievable Thailand is carrying on with this farce.

Absolutely.

After the farcical court proceedings, the PM has the ultimate power to decide where he goes. So this is just prolonging his incarceration for a pretence of justice.

 

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2 hours ago, geriatrickid said:

This is so very wrong on so many levels.

Although I am not particularly  sympathetic to the opponents of the cruel Bahrain dictatorship, the harsh treatment of a legitimate political refugee under the protection of Australia, gives a very negative image of Thailand. 

 

I have the impression that the powers that be are more interested in keeping a small group of super rich despots happy than in respecting international law, and upholding basic human rights.  The poor chap must be released to Australia without delay. I hope that Australia takes all available measures including the imposition of sanctions if this continues. 

 

Blame Interpol. They issued a notice at the request of Bahrain. So much for their "not to take action when cases are politically motivated" rule; and they ignored his UN refugee status and granting of asylum by Australia.

 

Thailand, as members of Interpol, have a responsibility to act.

 

But one would hope the Thai courts would also quickly recognize the UN and Australian position and release him back to Australia. 

 

As for making him wear shackles and bare feet to attend court - that does so much for the image!

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3 hours ago, darksidedog said:

 

That, sadly is the way that every person on remand goes to court. Prison uniform and shackles on the ankles. While at home we put on a suit and try to look presentable, the system here makes every person, innocent or not look like a criminal.

Whichever country which allows such a treatment for any kind of prisoner it's a third world country. Cavemen.

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At least in England you are allowed to have your best suit sent in to appear in court he is only on remand Im not impressed by the treatment to anyone who is still innocent as of yet

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2 hours ago, sanemax said:

The huge difference is that there was an international arrest warrant out for this guy and there wasnt one for the Saudi woman .

   Difficult situation for Thailand , as Thailand is just required to arrest him and send him back to where he faces a trail , its not up tp Thailand to pass judgement on whether he is guilty or not or whether he deserves is jail sentence or to go on trial in Bahrain 

The notice has been withdrawn so he is no longer wanted but as usual the Thais have messed up again.he has no trial to face.he was sentence in absence.he is not on the Interpol list.

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Interpol cancelled the notice, which is rather telling.

Under that circumstance Thailand really has no international legal grounds to hold or extradite him.

Follow the money?

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22 minutes ago, happy chappie said:

The notice has been withdrawn so he is no longer wanted but as usual the Thais have messed up again.he has no trial to face.he was sentence in absence.he is not on the Interpol list.

Do you have  link for that ?

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12 minutes ago, sanemax said:

Do you have  link for that ?

No but i read the notice was withdrawn for some reason not given.you can go to Interpol.com and search and hes not on the list.dont ask me why he's been taken off the list as he's been sentenced to 10 years.the Thais have cocked up again.

 

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3 hours ago, sanemax said:

, its not up tp Thailand to pass judgement on whether he is guilty or not or whether he deserves is jail sentence or to go on trial in Bahrain 

... but it is up to Thaiuland to treat him with dignity

and not like (or worse than ) they use to treat criminals 

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