Setback for Australian refugee football player arrested in Thailand

A refugee soccer participant who was once hoping to go back to Australia over the weekend after being arrested in Thailand has been put into detention as an alternative and is dealing with deportation to the rustic he fled from.

Hakeem Al-Araibi was once arrested at Bangkok airport final week on an Interpol realize issued at Bahrain’s request.

The 25-year-old advised SBS Information on Sunday that Thai government “discreetly” ordered him to e-book a flight abroad.

He booked a flight to Melbourne departing Saturday at 9pm. However 3 hours earlier than the flight he was once advised he would now not be flying to Australia and was once taken to Bangkok’s immigration detention centre.

Al-Araibi’s attorney, Latifa Al-Haouli, advised SBS Information that government from the Bahraini executive and the Australian Division of International Affairs have been “pleading their instances” in regard to his detention.

“I haven’t heard of Hakeem but as of this morning. We’ve been advised that Dfat is doing all that they may be able to however I feel they want to be doing extra,” she mentioned.

The Bahraini embassy in Thailand issued statements on Twitter on Sunday announcing they have been “following up with the related safety government” and that “the suspect is sought after for safety instances”.

Final week Al-Araibi advised Dad or mum Australia he was once arrested on an Interpol crimson realize for his conviction over an act of vandalism in Bahrain which he denies and says allegedly came about whilst he was once enjoying in a televised soccer recreation.

Since 2015 Interpol has mentioned it might now not permit crimson notices towards showed refugees and asylum seekers from the nations they fled from.

“After I arrived at immigration in Thailand they took me to detention and mentioned you might have a crimson realize from Bahrain,” he mentioned from detention.

“I advised them I’m a refugee in Australia. I mentioned [Bahrain] isn’t allowed to take me … I’ve been in Australia for four-and-a-half years now. However they took me to detention.”

Al-Araibi arrived in Australia in 2015 and was once granted refugee standing and everlasting residency 3 years later.

A former member of Bahrain’s nationwide soccer staff, he has prior to now described being tortured and overwhelmed through government who had accused him and different soccer gamers of surroundings hearth to a police station, and he was once sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison.

Al-Araibi denies the fee and claims he was once enjoying in a televised soccer fit on the time of the alleged incident.

The gamers and their households are believed to had been centered for his or her involvement in non violent protests towards the ruling circle of relatives all through the Arab Spring of 2011.

Quite a few the gamers centered along Al-Araibi have been additionally reportedly granted safe haven in Australia, the place Al-Araibi now performs for a Melbourne staff.

He has since publicly spoken towards Sheikh Salman Alkhalifa, cousin of the Bahraini king and present president of the Asian Soccer Confederation, doing a couple of interviews with media whilst Alkhalifa campaigned for the presidency of Fifa.

Final week a spokeswoman for Dfat advised Dad or mum Australia: “Australian embassy officers in Bangkok are in direct touch with Thai government relating to this factor. Owing to our privateness tasks we can now not supply additional remark.”

Al-Araibi’s improve staff have expressed fear that he would get much less the help of the Australian executive as a result of he isn’t a citizen, and referred to as for pressing motion to forestall his deportation to Bahrain.

“I spoke to anyone from the Australian embassy in Thailand. She mentioned simply look forward to immigration in Thailand as a result of she despatched them additional info,” mentioned Al-Araibi.

He mentioned he checked with Australian and Thai government earlier than leaving, and each had confident him of his protection.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the director of Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, mentioned: “Interpol has violated its tasks, as Hakeem holds refugee standing and returning him to Bahrain places him at vital chance of torture and imprisonment.

“His deportation would for sure harm the popularity of Interpol’s newly elected president early into his tenure.”

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