The Crosender Way stands in solidarity with Hakeem al-Araibi
Football fans and human rights activists around the world are becoming increasingly concerned regarding the detention in Thailand of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi who has refugee status in Australia. The following has been partially written by Adam Bretherton and reproduced from the article written by ABC Indonesia correspondent Anne Barker.
As you may have seen reported in various news outlets around the globe, Mr al-Araibi was arrested at Bangkok’s international airport in November when he flew from Australia to Thailand. Bahrain has accused him of vandalising a police station during 2011 anti-government protests, Hakeem al-Araibi denies the charges, saying he was playing in a televised soccer match at the time of the incident. He currently sits in a Thai prison waiting for his next court hearing in April, the Melbourne-based refugee has embarked on a training routine behind bars — doing push-ups and running without shoes.
The 25-year-old, who fled criminal charges related to the 2011 Arab Spring protests against Bahrain’s Government, is refusing to give up on his football career at Pascoe Vale, despite grave fears he could be forcibly returned to his homeland and may never see Australia again.
Pascoe Vale said it had already signed Mr al-Araibi for the 2019 season and his football shirt was ready.
“Tell him we are waiting, we registered him today,” the club posted on Twitter.
The Thai Foreign Ministry has updated a statement on the case, which it described as “involving two countries competing for Mr Hakeem’s custody”. It said Thailand only became involved “by chance” after a police bureau that handles Interpol matters in Australia notified Thai authorities Mr al-Araibi had boarded a flight to Bangkok and was the subject of a “red notice” initiated by Bahrain. The Thai Attorney-General’s office (OAG) defended the extradition process.
The fact the OAG are willing to completely disregard Hakeem al-Araibi refugee status, and not even take into account both AOG and Bahrain can easily review the evidence Hakeem al-Araibi has presented, claiming was playing in a televised football match at the time of the alleged incident leaves many, if not all to ponder what Political games are the 2 nations playing with a human beings life. The behaviour of Thai Attorney-General’s office completely contravenes The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is a United Nations multilateral treaty.
This is a view shared by all of TCW, the 1951 Refugee Convention must be respected and adhered to. Whilst a battle of ego’s wages between Bahrain, Thailand and Australia. A man’s life and career suffers. We understand this may ruffle some Marine feathers due to the clubs cherished close relationship with Marine Thatphanom FC based in North East Thailand. This article and our support for Mr al-Araibi is not designed to damage the forged bond between the 2 clubs. We wish to further raise awareness of Hakeem al-Araibi plight and his position being used as a political pawn.
Those of us who support Marine under the TCW banner share a socialist mind set and will always defend the rights of person’s persecuted such as in this case. Unlike Marine AFC official supporters group, TCW is not affiliated in any official capacity and are free to make comment as and when we feel it is required and justified. We are not a political party, we are not some sort of left wing militia. We are a group of Marine supporters who have a similar mind set, this is why we choose to remain an independent non official supporters group open to anyone and everyone who loves football and the social scene it brings.
The Crosender Way stands in solidarity with Hakeem al-Araibi and his club Pascoe Vale. All of us apart of TCW hope common sense will prevail, Mr Al-Araibi will have his evidence fairly reviewed and if proven correct, released without charge back to Australia.