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Int’l Criminal Justice Watchdog Criticizes Australian Gov. for Facilitating Arrest of Bahraini Refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi

2018-12-29 - 9:14 p

Bahrain Mirror: The Australian SBS website said that an international criminal justice watchdog has released a letter criticizing the Australian government for facilitating the detainment of Bahraini refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi.

In the letter, addressed to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and dated December 12, Fair Trials accused the Australian Federal Police (AFP) of being aware of Interpol's refugee policy which states that red notices are not allowed against refugees and asylum seekers if the alert was requested by the country where they fear persecution.

"No doubt the AFP, acting as Australia's National Centre Bureau for Interpol, should have been aware of this policy, and if it knew about Mr Al-Araibi's refugee status, then it must have also known that the Bahraini Red Notice against him was invalid," the letter read.

It has been revealed that Australia's National Interpol Bureau tipped of Thailand prior to Al-Araibi's arrival.

"Fair Trials appreciates that there is a pressing need for effective cross-border police cooperation, but this has to be subject to safeguards that prevent human rights abuses like the ones that Al-Araibi is currently facing," the Fair Trials letter reads.

"This is precisely why Interpol itself has rules that aim to respect human rights and prevent the use of politically motivated alerts. It is crucial that Australia takes the same approach.

"We believe that the first step that the Department of Home Affairs should take to prevent cases like Al-Araibi's from happening in the future is to acknowledge that there is room for improvement - not to defend the clearly unjustified actions and pass the blame on to other countries," the letter noted.

Fair Trials is an international group of legal experts based in London, Brussels and Washington, DC.

Al-Araibi, an Australian permanent resident and semi-professional football player, is facing deportation to Bahrain after he was arrested on an Interpol red notice when he arrived in Bangkok with his wife in late November.

The Bahraini government alleges the footballer "deliberately attacked a police station with improvised explosive devices" in 2012, however, a video has been published by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy reportedly to show Al-Araibi playing in a live football match at the time of the incident. 

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