14 December – Today a Liberal Democrat peer wrote to the British Ambassador to Thailand, Brian Davidson, urging him to take immediate action on the case of Bahraini refugee footballer, Hakeem AlAraibi, who is currently detained in Thailand and at risk of unlawful extradition.
Lord Scriven said he is “extremely concerned for Mr AlAraibi’s welfare” and “alarmed by the Thai authorities’ decision to detain and even consider his extradition when there is absolutely no legal basis”.
Despite raising MrAlaraibi’s case through a written question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Scriven said he would like to see some action “on the ground” including making representation to the Thai authorities.
Lord Scriven also insisted on the importance for the Ambassador to be kept up to date with all developments on the case and urged him to “support the Australian authorities in their endeavour to ensure the safe return of Mr AlAraibi to his home in Melbourne”.
AlAraibi was arrested on 27 November at Bangkok Airport, under a now-lifted INTERPOL red notice that was issued at Bahrain’s request. He has since remained in custody of Thai authorities.
On 11 December, a Thai court extended AlAraibi’s detention by 60 days in order to process his extradition to Bahrain, where AlAraibi will be forced to serve his unlawful sentence to 10 years imprisonment and will be at high risk of suffering torture. Thai authorities are still considering Alaraibi’s extradition despite him being a recognised refugee in Australia since 2017.
Commenting, the Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and democracy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, said: “I am glad to see that UK politicians are taking an interest in Hakeem’s case. His ordeal has rightfully attracted the world’s attention and I hope that the pressure generated will ensure his safe return to Australia.”
Full Letter below or at this link: Letter to Ambassador Davidson
14th December 2018
Dear Ambassador Davidson,
I am writing with regard to the case of Hakeem AlAraibi, a former Bahraini footballer granted refugee status in Australia, who is currently being detained in Bangkok. Mr AlAraibi is facing possible unlawful extradition to Bahrain, putting him at great risk of torture and certain imprisonment on the basis of an unlawful conviction.
Mr AlAraibi was detained upon his arrival at Bangkok International Airport on 27 November 2018 because of the wrongful issuance of an INTERPOL Red Notice. Red notices cannot be applied to refugees, therefore Mr AlAraibi should never have been detained. On 4 December, the Guardian reported that INTERPOL had lifted the red notice and that the Thai authorities were made aware of this. Despite this, authorities have continued to keep Mr AlAraibi in their custody. On 11 December, a Thai court extended his detention by 60 days in order to consider and process his extradition. The Australian authorities have expressed their concern and have called for his immediate release. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has also spoken publicly for the safe return of Mr AlAraibi to his home in Australia, while media pressure continues to mount in the region.
I am extremely concerned for Mr AlAraibi’s welfare and am alarmed by the Thai authorities’ decision to detain and even consider his extradition when there is absolutely no legal basis. I have raised the issue already in Parliament by submitting a written question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) but would appreciate seeing some action on the ground. For that reason, I urge you to support the Australian authorities in their endeavour to ensure the safe return of Mr AlAraibi to his home in Melbourne. Perhaps you could make urgent representations to the Thai authorities and ensure you are aware of any updates in his ordeal. Given the UK’s commitment to human rights, I hope you will be able to take some action.
I look forward to hearing from you.