Dear Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha,
We are writing to you from the Pascoe Vale FC who participates in the National Premier League of Victoria , a network of 2,000 members , corporate partners and individuals from various different countries . Pascoe Vale FC strongly urges the Royal Thai Government to safeguard Hakeem Al-Araibi’s fundamental rights to liberty and security. As a recognised refugee in Australia, Mr. Hakeem Al-Araibi should be allowed to immediately return to Australia where he has held permanent residence status since 2017. He should not be forcibly returned to Bahrain, a country from which he has escaped persecution and fears return.
As you might be aware the news refugee Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi was detained by the Thai authorities on a “red notice” by Interpol has rocked Pascoe Vale FC and the sports world. A “red notice” is a request to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition.
Mr. Al-Araibi, a Bahraini footballer, was detained by Thai Immigration officials on 27 November after arriving on a flight from Australia. Upon disembarking at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Mr. Al-Araibi was arrested by Thai Immigration Police. It has come to light that this arrest was on the basis of an Interpol “Red Notice” issued at Bahrain’s request. We understand that this Interpol notice has now been lifted. According to Bahraini court documents, Hakeem Al-Araibi was charged with vandalising a police station and was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison in 2014. This charge is vehemently denied.
Mr Al Araibi first began playing with Pascoe Vale FC mid-season last year, and truly demonstrated his worth as a defensive force. Mr Ali Araibi currently plays as a center back, and given his International playing experience for the Bahrain national team he has established himself a valuable core player and a new life in Australia. Mr Al Araibi is a highly motivated, resilient and in all aspects a team player and well respected in the football world in australia. Although quiet, Mr Al-Araibi takes advice and constructive criticism very seriously aiming to provide his best quality soccer for the team.
Pascoe Vale FC is proud of the work that we have done working to help protect refugees from around the world, and we participate in networks dedicated to that cause. We are also proud to call Hakeem al-Araibi our friend and teammate.
Pascoe Vale FC is aware that Mr. Al-Araibi has recently been moved to Bangkok’s Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Centre and has been denied lawyer access. On behalf of Pascoe Vale FC members and family we urge you to do everything in your power to halt the refoulement of Mr. Al-Araibi to Bahrain and to allow him to return to Australia immediately.
Yours Sincerely ,
Members of the Pascoe Vale FC
Image Credit Mark Avellino Photography