FIFA Asks Thailand to Return Bahraini Football Player to Australia

2018-12-08 - 7:29 م

Bahrain Mirror: World football's governing body, FIFA, demanded on Friday the return of Bahraini football player to Australia at the earliest possible moment, where he enjoys refugee status.

Commenting on the Thai authorities decision to arrest the Bahraini refugee based on Manama request and studying the decision to deport him to his country, FIFA issued a statement on Friday, saying that it wants the former Bahrain international to return to Australia "at the earliest possible moment".

In the same context, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, attending a conference in Indonesia on Thursday, told reporters that her government was very concerned about Al-Araibi's situation and was pursuing the case through diplomatic channels.

"He has been visited by our officials in Thailand and we are grateful to the Thai authorities for the support that they are providing to him and we hope that we can see a swift decision that will ensure his future safety," she said

Hakeem Al-Araibi was detained upon entry at Bangkok's airport on Nov. 27 following a request from Bahrain's government. He had traveled to Thailand on a holiday with his wife.

The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy reported Al-Araibi's appeal to the United Nations, individual states, FIFA, footballers, and all people, saying that "my fate is now in danger"

He added "If I am deported to Bahrain, don't forget me, and if once I'm there you hear me saying things, don't believe me. Please continue your fight to save me."

He was sentenced in absentia in Bahrain in 2014 to 10 years in prison for allegedly vandalizing a police station, a charge he denies.

The Bahraini player was tortured after a 2012 arrest and fled in 2014 to Australia, which granted him political asylum last year. 

Al-Araibi was a Bahraini national team player and a critic of Bahrain's ruling family.

Arabic Version