NHRC asks govt to ig­nore ex­tra­di­tion bid

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL -

>> The Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (NHRC) has asked the gov­ern­ment to re­spect in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and re­frain from ex­tra­dit­ing a for­mer na­tional team foot­baller to stand trial in Bahrain.

Na­tional hu­man rights com­mis­sioner Angkhana Nee­la­pai­jit said yes­ter­day she hopes Ha­keem AlAraibi, who was stopped by Thai im­mi­gra­tion on Nov 27 af­ter ar­riv­ing in Bangkok from Aus­tralia for a va­ca­tion with his wife, will be treated fairly be­cause he has refugee sta­tus from the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Due to his sta­tus, he should be pro­tected un­der in­ter­na­tional law.

Ms Angkhana said the gov­ern­ment does not have to ex­tra­dite him. The At­tor­ney­Gen­eral’s of­fice on Fri­day sub­mit­ted an ex­tra­di­tion re­quest to the Crim­i­nal Court on Bahrain’s be­half as the Gulf state has an out­stand­ing ar­rest war­rant for him.

A court will rule next week on the re­quest by Bahrain to ex­tra­dite AlAraibi, who has been held in de­ten­tion, where he has largely been kept in the dark on the court pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing his fate. The 25-year-old, who now plays for the semipro­fes­sional club Pas­coe Vale FC in Mel­bourne, says he was ar­rested and beaten at the start of the Arab Spring protests in the Gulf state in 2012 and was granted refugee sta­tus in Aus­tralia five years later.

He was con­victed in ab­sen­tia on charges of van­dal­is­ing a po­lice sta­tion in Bahrain. But AlAraibi says he was out of the coun­try play­ing in a foot­ball match at the time of the al­leged of­fence.

Col Thatchapong Sarawan-Ankura, chief of the im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­tre — where AlAraibi is be­ing held — said the court is­sued an ar­rest war­rant for Mr Ha­keem, and he would be sent to the court on Tues­day to plead his case. A lawyer act­ing for AlAraibi, Nadthasiri Bergman, said the court would ask him if he wanted to go back to Bahrain. “He didn’t do any­thing wrong in Thai­land ... so there is no grounds [for de­ten­tion],” he said.

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