ADHRB Demands Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa to Endorse FIFA’s Call, Publicly Speak against Hakeem’s Deportation
2018-12-08 - 8:34 p
Bahrain Mirror: Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) sent a letter to Vice President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, calling on him to support and endorse FIFA's call to allow footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi, currently detained in Thailand, to return to Australia rather than have him deported to Bahrain, where he potentially faces torture and abuse.
The letter signed by ADHRB Executive Director, Husain Abdulla, read "FIFA has a strong obligation to promote and protect human rights. Paragraph 5 of FIFA's own human rights commitment, in particular, details FIFA's willingness to go "beyond its responsibility to respect human rights...by taking measures to promote the protection of human rights and positively contribute to their enjoyment especially where it is able to apply effective leverage to help increase said enjoyment or where this relates to strengthening human rights in or through football."
ADHRB focused in its letter on case of Hakeem Al-Araibi, a former soccer player for Bahrain's national team, who is currently detained in Thailand and facing extradition to Bahrain, where he will likely be subjected to imprisonment and torture.
The organization raised several questions to Sheikh Salman, being Vice President of FIFA, "do you support and endorse FIFA's call to allow Hakeem to return home to Australia rather than have him sent to Bahrain where he will most certainly be tortured? Will you, Sheikh Salman, publicly call for Hakeem's safe return to Australia?"
FIFA declared in a statement that it "supports the calls for the Thai authorities to allow Mr. Al-Araibi to return to Australia where he currently enjoys refugee status at the earliest possible moment."
"If Sheikh Salman fails to stand up at this crucial time, we will take his silence as an agreement that the Thai authorities should extradite Hakeem back to Bahrain where his safety will be seriously at risk," the organization stated.
ADHRB reminded with Sheikh Salman's failure in defending Hakeen Al-Araibia who criticized Sheikh Salman in the past. The organization went on to say that "In 2012, Hakeem was arrested for allegedly vandalizing a police station, despite playing in a televised football match at the time of the incident. According to Hakeem, Bahrain's soccer association, led by you at the time, did not engage with requests from his sister and lawyers to confirm his alibi and exonerate him. Because of this, Hakeem remained in jail for three months and was later sentenced to 10 years in prison. Your lawyers claimed that you did not personally receive a request for help from Mr. Al-Araibi."