02/07/2019

Urgent Action Update: Bahraini Refugee at Risk of Forcible Return (Thailand: UA 206.18)


Hakeem al Araibi, is a known footballer who was granted asylum in Australia after being tortured, detained and subject to an unfair trial in Bahrain. He has been detained by Thai authorities since 27 November, when he arrived in Bangkok on his honeymoon. Under international law, Thailand must not forcibly send him to Bahrain, where he faces a real risk of torture and other human rights violations. Thailand should immediately drop extradition charges, release Hakeem and allow him to return to Australia.

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha
Pitsanulok road Bangkok 10200 Thailand
Fax: +66 2282 5131
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Virachai Plasai
Royal Thai Embassy
1024 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202 944 3600 I Fax: 202 944 3611
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2DYwCp1
Twitter: @ThaiEmbDC
Facebook: @Thaiembd
Salutation: His Excellency

Your Excellency,

Hakeem al Araibi, a refugee who lives in Australia, is at risk of torture if he is forced to return to Bahrain. On 27 November 2018, Hakeem was detained in Bangkok, Thailand, since his arrival on honeymoon, and is currently being held in Klong Prem Remand Prison pending an extradition hearing. Since Hakeem’s detention, Interpol has withdrawn its red notice on him, but the Bangkok Criminal Court has twice extended 60-day detention orders. Thailand has an obligation to comply with international human rights law, including customary international law, which overrides any extradition agreement with Bahrain. Hakeem cannot be returned to Bahrain because he faces a real risk of torture and other human rights violations. If forced to return, Thailand would breach international obligations prohibiting the transfer of persons to any country where they would face a real risk of serious human rights violations. Extradition proceedings against Hakeem should be dropped, and he should be immediately released from custody and allowed to return to Australia.

In 2012, Hakeem was arrested in Bahrain and has reported that he was tortured in detention. He was conditionally released and was then sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison in an unfair trial. Hakeem was convicted of attacking a police station, although he was playing in a televised football match at the time of the alleged incident. In 2014, he fled Bahrain and was recognized as a refugee by Australia in 2017.

I urge that you immediately release Hakeem Ali al-Araibi, allow him to return to Australia, and under no circumstances remove him to Bahrain or to any other country in which he would be at real risk of serious human rights violations. I further request that your government take legislative and procedural measures to uphold and protect Thailand’s international human rights obligation not to transfer anyone to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES