Soccer participant Hakeem al-Araibi, who has refugee standing in Australia, informed a Thai courtroom on Monday that he refuses to be voluntarily extradited to Bahrain, which has requested for his return to serve a jail sentence for a criminal offense he denies committing.
Al-Araibi’s rejection of extradition means a trial might be held to find out whether or not Thai authorities will ship him to Bahrain, the place he fears he’s in danger or torture, or launch him so he can return to Australia.
“Please converse to Thailand, do not ship me to Bahrain. Bahrain will not defend me,” a chained al-Araibi shouted to reporters outdoors courtroom as he was escorted by jail guards for Monday’s listening to.
His supporters say he ought to be freed, declaring that he’s protected underneath his standing as a refugee with Australian residency.
A courtroom submitting, made final week by Thai prosecutors, famous that whereas Thailand and Bahrain don’t have an extradition treaty, extradition continues to be attainable by regulation if Bahrain makes an official request, which they did, and if the crime is punishable by over a yr, will not be politically motivated or a army violation.
The Bahraini authorities insists that he be handled as a easy fugitive who was convicted for an arson assault that broken a police station, an act that he denies. It says he has alternatives to enchantment his conviction within the nation’s courts.
The Bangkok courtroom set an April 22 date for a subsequent listening to. Thai officers beforehand stated a trial may very well be prolonged, relying on what number of witnesses are known as by either side.
Al-Araibi, 25, a former Bahraini nationwide workforce participant, says he fled his dwelling nation as a result of political repression. Bahrain desires him returned to serve a 10-year jail sentence he obtained in absentia in 2014 for an arson assault that broken a police station, which he denies.
The footballer was detained upon his arrival in Bangkok in November whereas on a vacation, and was subsequently held pending the completion of the extradition request by Bahrain.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison despatched a letter final month, urging Thailand to cease the extradition. Soccer governing our bodies and human rights activists have additionally urged Thai authorities to let al-Araibi return to Australia the place he lives and performs for a semi-professional workforce in Melbourne.
“Your spouse sends her love, Hakeem. All of Australia is with you. Be robust. Soccer is with you,” former Australia nationwide soccer workforce captain Craig Foster stated to Hakeem outdoors courtroom. Foster has been in Bangkok to push for al-Araibi’s launch.
“I believe the info of this case are a quite simple one. Hakeem is a refugee. He’s a human rights defender and due to this fact underneath worldwide regulation he shouldn’t be topic to those proceedings,” Francis Awaritefe, vp of FIFPro, a global soccer gamers’ physique, stated on the courtroom.
Hakeem has stated he was blindfolded and had his legs crushed whereas he was held in Bahrain beforehand. He stated he believed he was focused for arrest due to his Shia religion and since his brother was politically lively in Bahrain.
Bahrain has a Shia majority however is dominated by a Sunni monarchy.