30 MEPs Ask Thailand to Release Hakeem Al-Araibi

2019-02-01 - 8:17 ص

Bahrain Mirror: 30 MEPs sent an urgent letter to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in particular Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai, in which they expressed their deep concern regarding the arrest of Bahraini player and urged the Thai authorities to release Hakeem Al-Araibia and ensure he returns safe to Australia.

In their letter the MEPs reminded with the international community has repeatedly called for Al-Araibi's release and safe return to Australia. They said that Australia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, has raised Al-Araibi's case in meetings with Thai government officials, and repeatedly called for his release since he was first detained. Human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have also condemned Al-Araibi's continued detention and backed the Australian Foreign Minister's calls urging for his safe return to Australia.

Moreover, Washington DC-based Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) have jointly submitted an Urgent Appeal concerning Al-Araibi's case to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, raising serious concerns about the risk of torture AlAraibi faces should Thailand extradite him to Bahrain, stating that such an action "would be in violation of Thailand's international legal obligations."

The MEPs also reminded the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the legally binding principle of "nonrefoulement," where states are prohibited from returning an individual to a country where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations.

MEP Julie Ward hoped this strong letter, which demonstrates cross-party support, compels the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Hakeem and allow him to safely return to Australia. "Extraditing him to Bahrain would be dangerous and irresponsible as he would most likely face torture and human rights violations. I trust the Thai authorities are aware of the risks involved and will work with us to uphold human rights," she said.

"If Thailand extradites Hakeem to Bahrain, this will further demonstrate Thailand's lack of respect for the rights of refugees and for international laws and standards that prohibit refoulement when the subject is at risk of torture and abuse. Hakeem's case has also raised concerns surrounding the questionable relationship between the Thai royal family and the Al Khalifas and the economic interests that are likely at play," ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla stated.

He stressed that "This letter is yet another strong call for Thailand to do the right thing, and I hope this time they listen. The Thai Government must release Hakeem and allow for his safe return to Australia."

On January 24, 2019 the Chair of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) Pier Antonio Panzeri released a statement on the unlawful detention in Thailand of Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi. Panzeri expressed deep concern on the ongoing situation of Hakeem, fearing extreme consequences for the footballer. He demanded the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA to put in place the release of the Bahraini footballer. Furthermore, he urged the Australian government to continue its efforts to seek the return for Hakeem to Australia. Meanwhile, he expressed concerns regarding intentions to extradite Al-Araibi to Bahrain where his life will be in danger.

Arabic Version