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Australia ramps pressure to free Bahraini footballer


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Australia ramps pressure to free Bahraini footballer

By THE NATION, AGENCIES 

 

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File photo/Kunlaphun Siripimamporn

 

CANBERRA YESTERDAY continued to pressure Bangkok to immediately release a much-publicised Bahraini fugitive, with the prime minister writing his second letter to his Thai counterpart to say he was disturbed to see Hakeem al-Araibi in shackles at the Criminal Court.
 

“I’ve written to him again, because I was very disturbed at the appearance of Hakeem at the hearing the other day,” Scott Morrison said. “He was shackled and I thought that was very upsetting and I know it would have upset many Australians.

 

“I’m respectfully reminding the Thai prime minister that Australians feel very strongly about this, very, very strongly.”

 

In his first letter, Morrison called for Thailand to send al-Araibi back to Australia. Al-Araibi has lived in Australia for about five years with refugee status and Australian residency after fleeing what he described as torture in his native nation.

 

Morrison’s demand was made despite the fact that it was Australian Interpol that issued a “red notice” for al-Araibi a few days ahead of his departure for a honeymoon trip in Thailand. Bahrain, which wants the footballer to serve a jail term of 10 years on a criminal charge, learnt about his travel and requested that the Thai side arrest him.

 

It was reported that al-Araibi informed the Australian side about his trip and received a green light, so he left for Thailand only to be arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport on November 27 last year.

 

The 25-year-old fears being returned to Bahrain where he believes he could face imprisonment and torture.

 

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday saying the Kingdom would not have become involved in the issue had it not received the red-notice alert from the Australian Interpol and the subsequent formal request by Bahrain for his arrest and extradition. 

 

Thailand does not gain anything from having him in custody, but has legal obligations and commitments to the international community, read the statement. Thailand found itself in the middle of a conflict and it had no other legitimate option but to cooperate in line with the law. It suggested that the two countries talk to each other to sort out the problem and come up with their own solution, instead of trying to find an indirect solution from Thailand, which has only become involved in this case by chance.

 

Prosecutor opposing bail 

 

While his lawyer is seeking bail for al-Araibi, the public prosecutors yesterday said they would oppose bail, citing flight risk. 

 

Chatchom Akapin, director-general for international affairs at the Office of the Attorney-General, said several foreign defendants had jumped bail and did not show up in court. “This policy does not just apply to Hakeem,” he said. 

 

Separately, in what was called a sports sanction, Football Federation Australia (FFA) has cancelled a training trip of its Under-23s to Thailand, to protest against its continued detention of al-Araibi.

 

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

 

FFA had planned since last year to play a friendly match against China in Bangkok as part of the team’s preparations for the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers, which will be held in Cambodia in March, but alternatives are now being sought.

 

“On our return from the recent AFC Asian Cup we reassessed our plans due to the ongoing detainment of Australian footballer Hakeem al-Araibi in a Thai prison,” Arnold said.

 

“We are in the process of rearranging our pre-tournament camp in another Asian nation. Australia’s national teams are united in their support for Hakeem al-Araibi and we call on the community to continue to campaign for his release.”

 

Meanwhile, Australia Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday faced stiff backlash on social media after announcing a sponsorship deal with Thai Airways. The club was accused of being “tone deaf” and “failing to read the room”.

 

It later apologised “unreservedly” for any offence caused and said the club stood in full support of al-Araibi’s cause and will use its new relationship to engage with the airline directly.

 

On Tuesday, FFA pledged 10,000 Australian dollars (Bt220,000) to kick-start fundraising efforts to help continue the global advocacy campaign to return al-Araibi to Australia.

 

Bahrain this week issued a statement defending its decision to pursue al-Araibi after he allegedly fled while awaiting trial.

 

It said al-Araibi had been granted bail to travel for a football tournament and had violated the terms while taking “special consideration granted to him as a sportsman”.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30363682

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation 2019-02-07
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32 minutes ago, davehowden said:

Seems to me that Australia cocked this up well and good !

Seems to me that the only country that has cocked this one up well and good is Thailand.Just as in the case of the Saudi Arabian woman only a few weeks ago.At that time there was enough international pressure put in place to make the uniformed incompetents rapidly change their minds...

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5 minutes ago, Odysseus123 said:

Seems to me that the only country that has cocked this one up well and good is Thailand

Classic Thai bashing. The one person that well and truly cocked up is this Al Araiby lad, that while knowing full well he had a 10 year sentence waiting for him back in Bahrain for "terrorist activities" decides to fly away from his safe haven and the rest is history. Not the first time such folly has occurred. Since Icarus many have over reached and come crashing back down with a thud. This is no excuse to slander and speak ill of Thailand or Thai people.

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10 minutes ago, Odysseus123 said:

Seems to me that the only country that has cocked this one up well and good is Thailand.Just as in the case of the Saudi Arabian woman only a few weeks ago.At that time there was enough international pressure put in place to make the uniformed incompetents rapidly change their minds...

Oh, I thought it was Australia that asked for the Interpol Red Notice to be actioned, am I incorrect ?

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12 minutes ago, TopDeadSenter said:

Classic Thai bashing. The one person that well and truly cocked up is this Al Araiby lad, that while knowing full well he had a 10 year sentence waiting for him back in Bahrain for "terrorist activities" decides to fly away from his safe haven and the rest is history. Not the first time such folly has occurred. Since Icarus many have over reached and come crashing back down with a thud. This is no excuse to slander and speak ill of Thailand or Thai people.

Sure...

 

So now you see yourself as the supreme arbiter sitting in judgement of those who are supposedly speaking ill or slandering the Thai people?

 

Pull the other one.

 

By the way-what time is it in Thailand?

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6 minutes ago, Odysseus123 said:

Read the other threads on the subject.

“The Interpol’s red notice issued by Canberra on al-Araibi reached the Thai side before he arrived here. Interpol was very quick and we arrested him at the request of Bahrain,” Don told reporters.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30363593

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1 minute ago, davehowden said:

“The Interpol’s red notice issued by Canberra on al-Araibi reached the Thai side before he arrived here. Interpol was very quick and we arrested him at the request of Bahrain,” Don told reporters.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30363593

Quite correct.Issued by Interpol's office at the request of Bahrain.

 

Interpol will have a great deal of explaining to do in Australia.

 

I am not going over it again.

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1 hour ago, TopDeadSenter said:

Classic Thai bashing. The one person that well and truly cocked up is this Al Araiby lad, that while knowing full well he had a 10 year sentence waiting for him back in Bahrain for "terrorist activities" decides to fly away from his safe haven and the rest is history. Not the first time such folly has occurred. Since Icarus many have over reached and come crashing back down with a thud. This is no excuse to slander and speak ill of Thailand or Thai people.

More misinformation from you. Al Araiby has not been convicted for an act of terrorism. In fact he was originally arrested and tortured for joining a pro democracy demonstration against the Bahrain dictatorship.

 

The Australian government gave an assurance to Al Araiby that he and his wife were safe to travel to Thailand. An error was made by the AFP regards the Red Notice and as has been repeatedly stated withdrawn by the OZ government as those granted refugee status, under international law, cannot be transferred back to their home country. So far the get out for the Thai government is they are not a signatory to the UN Convention for Refugees. Thailand has repeatedly been identified for violation of laws related to refoulement, as well as abuse, including murder, of asylum seekers / rights activists.

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2 hours ago, webfact said:

I’m respectfully reminding the Thai prime minister that Australians feel very strongly about this, very, very strongly.”

civilized overture to people that aren't;  just listen to the foreign minister here's response , a tired refrain of 'we are special, we have old traditions' ('that you cannot understand'); that FM is the worst example of wrong guy in the wrong job and spearheading another thai international head-plant

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10 minutes ago, simple1 said:

More misinformation from you. Al Araiby has not been convicted for an act of terrorism. In fact he was originally arrested and tortured for joining a pro democracy against the Bahrain dictatorship. The Australian government gave an assurance to Al Araiby that he and his wife were safe to travel to Thailand. An error was made by the AFP regards the Red Notice and as has been repeatedly stated withdrawn by the OZ government as those granted refugee status, under international law, cannot be transferred back to their home country. So far the get out for the Thai government is they are not a signatory to the UN Convention for Refugees. Thailand has repeatedly been identified for violation of laws related to refoulement, as well as abuse, including murder, of asylum seekers / rights activists.

So like I said previously, Australia cocked up big time.

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Whether Australia messed up at the beginning or not, it doesn’t matter anymore. Thailand wouldn’t dare send him back to Bahrain now, so why keep him in a cell? Because someone asked them to do the right thing but they don’t want to be seen as weak by complying? It’s pathetic. 

 

They’re keeping this poor lad locked up because they’re trying to think of how to best release him and still look good. The longer they keep him locked up the worse they look. 

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3 hours ago, davehowden said:

Seems to me that Australia cocked this up well and good !

Not if he gets sent back best outcome. He made his claim 5 years ago that was when any man and his dog was granted asylum by the soft Labor government. Frauds the lot of them. 

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7 hours ago, harrycallahan said:

Not if he gets sent back best outcome. He made his claim 5 years ago that was when any man and his dog was granted asylum by the soft Labor government. Frauds the lot of them. 

How can you possibly know that? 

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Where did Thailand get this idea that Australia issued a Interpol Red notice on one of its good soccer players , what was the reason given, Its quite obvious that Australia's Prime Minister or Foreign Minister hasn't this information , so please don't be shy.

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2 hours ago, TopDeadSenter said:

Classic Thai bashing. The one person that well and truly cocked up is this Al Araiby lad, that while knowing full well he had a 10 year sentence waiting for him back in Bahrain for "terrorist activities" decides to fly away from his safe haven and the rest is history. Not the first time such folly has occurred. Since Icarus many have over reached and come crashing back down with a thud. This is no excuse to slander and speak ill of Thailand or Thai people.

take you rose colored glasses off

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Good for FFA cancelling game.

I'd like to see FIFA put Thailand on a red list, but that would open a can of worms. Ban visits by pro teams like Liverpool from touring here during off season perhaps.

Government responds best when money and international news involved

Is a travel warning for Thailand issued now in Australia?

 

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This is very clearly Thailand’s fault and a problem it could very easily (and legally) fix.

 

There is an editorial in one of the English newspapers today that spells everything out very clearly.

 

I was uncertain until I read that article today...now the entire story and full picture is very clear.

 

Everyone curious about this case should read it. It answers every question.

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4 hours ago, TopDeadSenter said:

Classic Thai bashing. The one person that well and truly cocked up is this Al Araiby lad, that while knowing full well he had a 10 year sentence waiting for him back in Bahrain for "terrorist activities" decides to fly away from his safe haven and the rest is history. Not the first time such folly has occurred. Since Icarus many have over reached and come crashing back down with a thud. This is no excuse to slander and speak ill of Thailand or Thai people.

A: He did check he was ok to travel with the Australian authorities before travelling, he was told it was (as stated in the OP), so not his fault. 

 

B: He was playing football before a live audience in a televised football game at the time the alleged offence took place. 

 

C; The Thai authorities should end this farce of a trial and allow this man to return home to Australia. 

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20 minutes ago, bowerboy said:

This is very clearly Thailand’s fault and a problem it could very easily (and legally) fix.

 

There is an editorial in one of the English newspapers today that spells everything out very clearly.

 

I was uncertain until I read that article today...now the entire story and full picture is very clear.

 

Everyone curious about this case should read it. It answers every question.

How about a link to the editorial so all the know-it-alls can crawl back into their holes.

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Return him to Australia and let the Bahreinis deal with the Australians directly. Unbelievable that Thailand cannot get rid of this hot potato which - for once - is really not their problem! 

 

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

CANBERRA YESTERDAY continued to pressure Bangkok to immediately release a much-publicised Bahraini fugitive, with the prime minister writing his second letter to his Thai counterpart to say he was disturbed to see Hakeem al-Araibi in shackles at the Criminal Court.

But Canberra issued the Interpol Red Notice.  :mellow:

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