Sports 

Refugee Bahraini footballer, freed from Thai jail, says ‘I love Australia’

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A refugee Bahraini footballer who was held in a Thai prison for more than two months at the Gulf state’s request arrived in his adoptive home Australia on Tuesday, television pictures showed, to cheers and the great relief of his wife. Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia, was released from prison in Bangkok on Monday. Authorities in Bahrain accused Araibi of crimes committed during the Arab Spring protests of 2011, charges which he denied. “Australia is my country.…

Read More
Sports 

‘He is a free man’: refugee Bahraini footballer heads home to Australia

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia boarded a flight for Melbourne early on Tuesday after Bahrain dropped its bid to have him extradited from Thailand, bringing to an end a case that had drawn international criticism. Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia, was arrested in November last year at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport while on a honeymoon trip, following an Interpol notice issued at the Gulf state’s request. He was seen chatting happily before boarding a…

Read More
Sports 

Refugee Bahraini footballer boards plane leaving Thailand for Australia: Reuters witness

FILE PHOTO: Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi leaves Thailand’s Criminal Court, in Bangkok, Thailand February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha BANGKOK (Reuters) – A refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia boarded a plane in Thailand early on Tuesday that would fly directly to Melbourne, where he has lived since 2014 and plays for a local football club. Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, boarded a Thai Airways flight at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport shortly after midnight, according to a Reuters witness. He was seen talking happily as he walked past the…

Read More
Sports 

‘He is a free man’: Thailand releases refugee Bahraini footballer after extradition bid dropped

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Monday freed a jailed refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia, after Bahrain abandoned its bid to seek his extradition, and immigration officials said he was immediately driven to the airport. A police car believed to be carrying Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi is pictured as it leaves the Bangkok’s Remand Prison, Thailand, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia, was arrested in November last year at a Bangkok airport while…

Read More
Sports 

Thailand to free refugee Bahraini footballer after extradition bid dropped

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand will free by the end of Monday a refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia who was arrested more than two months ago, a prosecutor in the case said, after Bahrain abandoned its bid to seek his extradition. A police car believed to be carrying Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi is pictured as it leaves the Bangkok’s Remand Prison, Thailand, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia, was arrested in November at…

Read More
Sports 

Wife of jailed Bahraini footballer begs Thai PM for his release

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The wife of jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi pleaded with Thailand’s prime minister on Wednesday to ensure he is not extradited to his native country, saying he faces torture there and should be sent back to asylum in Australia. FILE PHOTO: Hakeem Al Araibi, a former member of Bahrain’s national soccer team who holds a refugee status in Australia arrives at court after he was arrested last month on arrival at a Bangkok airport based on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain’s request, in Bangkok, Thailand…

Read More
Top stories 

Hakeem al-Araibi campaigners say Bahraini footballer’s case is urgent

Former footballer Craig Foster is leading the campaign to release Hakeem al-Araibi The case of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi “has become an absolute emergency”, according to campaigners. The 25-year-old holds refugee status in Australia after fleeing his homeland in 2014, but is currently in Thailand. Former Australia captain Craig Foster, who is leading the effort to secure Al-Araibi’s release, met with Fifa officials on Monday. But he warned that Bahrain pressing ahead with plans to extradite Al-Araibi had “escalated the issue”. The Arab kingdom says that extradition proceedings are now…

Read More
Top stories 

Hakeem Al-Araibi: Fifa contacts Thai authorities over detention of Bahraini footballer

Supporters of Hakeen Al-Araibi in Australia have campaigned for his safe return Fifa has contacted the Thailand government over the case of Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi. The 25-year-old, who holds refugee status in Australia, is being held in a Bangkok prison on an Interpol warrant issued by Bahrain. He was sentenced in Bahrain for vandalism but denies the charges. In a letter to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Fifa says the former Bahrain player is “at serious risk of mistreatment in his home country”. The footballer fled to Australia in…

Read More