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Footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi Sues Federal Government over Wrongful Detention in Thailand

2021-06-30 - 12:23 am

Bahrain Mirror: Footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi is suing the federal government for negligence and breaching its duty of care after he was wrongfully detained in Thailand, the Australian SBS website reported.

A statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria by Holding Redlich lawyers on behalf of Mr Al-Araibi, said he has suffered injury, loss and damage because of the ordeal.   

"The Plaintiff was in a position of extreme vulnerability, being a person with a well founded fear of persecution by the Bahrain Government, a confirmed refugee and unaware of the Red Notice," the writ says. 

"By accepting the Plaintiff's Refugee status and issuing the Refugee Visa, issuing the CTD travel document, processing the Red Notice, allowing the Plaintiff to leave Melbourne Airport to travel to Thailand, failing to inform the Plaintiff of the Red Notice so that he was unable to protect his own interests, the Defendant took on a position of responsibility for the Plaintiff's welfare."  

The statement of claim alleges the Department of Home Affairs had been notified about the Interpol red notice on 8 November 2018, prior to his departure to Thailand on 27 November. 

The writ filed in court asserts that the federal government failed in its "duty of care" to Al-Araibi by not taking reasonable steps to convey his refugee status to Interpol to prevent his arrest.

The writ also suggests if it weren't for this negligence and breach of duty of care, the Interpol notice would have been cancelled more quickly and Al-Araibi never detained.

Al-Araibi had been granted a protection visa by Australia in November 2017 after allegedly being tortured in his home-country of Bahrain. 

But missteps by the Department of Home Affairs meant the red notice was not cancelled before he left Melbourne, and Al-Araibi was locked up in Thailand for 76 days while facing extradition to Bahrain.

Australia's Federal Police commissioner later apologized to Al-Araibi for the process that led to his detention. After being detained, Mr Al-Araibi remained behind bars even after the Department of Home Affairs had confirmed his refugee status. Former Socceroo Craig Foster led an international campaign calling for Al-Araibi's release.

It is to mention that Thailand is not a signatory to the refugee convention and had considered Bahrain's extradition request prior to his eventual release on 11 February. 

Arabic Version