Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Australia union seeks help for detained Bahraini refugee player


UPDATE 1-Soccer-Australia union seeks help for detained Bahraini refugee player
The head of the Australian soccer players union wants the sport's regional governing body to help secure the release of a Bahraini refugee footballer arrested in Thailand in November over a prison sentence in his homeland.

Hakeem Al Araibi, who played in Australia but had flown out for his honeymoon, was arrested in November in Bangkok on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.

The former member of Bahrain's national soccer team, a critic of the government, was convicted of vandalising a police station and sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.

He has denied wrongdoing.

John Didulica, chief executive of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), said the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), whose head is a member of Bahrain's ruling family, should intervene for his freedom.

Didulca said Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, as AFC president, was obliged to safeguard footballers' rights, but he had seen no evidence of action.

"That's a huge failure on their behalf and must be remedied," he told Reuters at a hotel in Dubai on Sunday while attending the Asian Cup.

Sheikh Salman could not be reached for comment.

When asked by Reuters to respond, an AFC spokesman said: "The AFC is working with many stakeholders including FIFA, and as this work is ongoing we will make no further comment."

A Bahrain government spokesperson said there was no threat to Araibi's life and he could appeal if he returned.

"The two people convicted with him appealed against their convictions and were found not guilty under due legal process by Bahrain’s independent judiciary," the spokesperson said.

Union head Didulica said failure to work towards Araibi's return to Australia, where he was granted asylum in 2017 after fleeing Bahrain three years earlier, could make Sheikh Salman's candidacy for AFC re-election "untenable".

Araibi was a vocal critic of Sheikh Salman, a cousin of Bahrain's king, when he contested the FIFA presidential election in 2015. During the campaign, which he lost to Gianni Infantino, Sheikh Salman was strongly criticised by some rights groups.

Sheikh Salman denies he was involved in investigating and prosecuting athletes active in Bahrain's 2011 protests.

Activists have called on authorities to "show humanity" to Araibi in the same way they did to an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled from her family to Thailand.

Human Rights Watch said Araibi was tortured by Bahraini authorities because of his brother's political activities during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Andrew Cawthorne)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Hyderabad Encounter: Time to review modern judiciary and restore people’s confidence

Its probably for the first time in the history of independent India, the parliamentarians, chief ministers and ministers in the Union and State governments are openly supporting an encounter. This indicates the people from top to bottom hav...

What happens to your outstanding loans if the bank falls?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Report: Rockies willing to listen to Arenado offers

The Colorado Rockies are wiling to listen to trade proposals involving All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, MLB Network reported Wednesday. While a deal still would seem unlikely, the Rockies are at least opening the door for any team that...

France's moderate CFDT union calls for action on Dec 17 against pensions reform

Frances moderate CFDT union called for action on Dec 17 to protest against the governments pensions reform plan on Wednesday, saying French President Emmanuel Macron had broken his promise not to change the age you can retire. Other moderat...

Chile extends search zone for missing plane

The Chilean government on Wednesday widened the search for an Air Force plane with 38 people aboard that went missing off the southern tip of South America. At least 15 planes and five ships have been deployed in the search of the Drake Pas...

Blue Jackets rookie Bemstrom out 6-8 weeks

Columbus Blue Jackets rookie center Emil Bemstrom is expected to be sidelined six-to-eight weeks due to a dislocated rib and broken cartilage, the team announced Wednesday. Bemstrom sustained the injury during the Blue Jackets 4-1 loss agai...

Give Feedback