For 1st Time in Thailand, Leading Football Club Joins Campaign Urging Al-Araibi’s Release
2019-01-28 - 6:40 م
Bahrain Mirror: A leading Thai football club has joined the growing international chorus to free refugee player Hakeem Al-Araibi, who faces deportation to Bahrain where he fears for his life.
Local FA Cup champions Chiang Rai United, the first Thai club to publicly support the detained footballer, also called on its supporters to demand the Thai government meet its international legal and human rights obligations.
Despite increased pressure on Thailand to release Al-Araibi, who lived and played in Australia and was detained on November 27 at Suvarnabhumi airport at Bahrain's request, the case has had limited exposure in the Thai-language media.
Club president Mitti Tiyapairat posted on the club's Facebook page that there should be no reason for any footballer to be imprisoned without proper legal reasons.
Mitti said Al-Araibi's case had been "too quiet" and praised former Socceroo Craig Foster who was in Thailand last week urging football fans and officials to speak out or face the possibility of international sanctions.
"To take a footballer and lock him up is to ruin his life, particularly when there is no reason in law to hold him," wrote Mitti. "I think we need to come out and demand his release."
Al-Araibi, 25, who played for the Bahrain national team, was granted refugee status by Australia after he was accused of vandalising a police station in 2012. The footballer denies the allegations, but was sentenced to 10 years' jail in absentia. He was arrested on an Interpol red notice requested by Bahrain when he arrived in Thailand for a honeymoon with his wife.
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