Global campaign urges release of Bahraini footballer from Thai jail

Global campaign urges release of Bahraini footballer from Thai jail

The Australian prime minister has intervened to try to save a young footballer from being extradited from Thailand to Bahrain, where he fears he will be tortured and jailed. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thailand’s prime minister, cautioning that returning Mr Araibi to Bahrain would infringe his rights under international human rights law, reported the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday. 

Mr Araibi, 25, who fled alleged political persecution in Bahrain in 2014 and was granted refugee status in Australia in 2017, was arrested in late November while transiting through Bangkok airport en route to his honeymoon and is currently being detained in the Thai capital. 

Bahrain on Monday submitted an official request for his extradition, dashing hopes among his growing base of international supporters of an early release, and prompting rights groups to declare his situation now an “emergency.”

The plight of Mr Araibi, a former member of the Bahrain national football team and who now plays  semi-professional soccer for the Pascoe Vale Football Club in Melbourne, has shaken the world of international football. 

Among his high-profile advocates is former England player Gary Lineker, who took to Twitter on Monday night saying: “Come on @FIFAcom sort this wrong out.”

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