The Latest: Soccer union urges IOC, FIFA to mull sanctions
BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on a detained soccer player’s extradition case in Thailand (all times local):
Australia has urged Thailand to exercise its legal discretion by releasing refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne says in a statement Thailand’s office of the Attorney-General has publicly confirmed that Thailand’s Extradition Act allows for executive discretion in such cases.
She says this was also confirmed by the prosecutor in the context of yesterday’s hearing.
Payne says her government continues to advocate on al-Araibi’s behalf at the highest levels in both Thailand and Bahrain.
Bahrain wants him returned to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia in 2014 for an arson attack that damaged a police station, which he denies
He has refugee status in Australia, where he lives and plays for a semi-professional team, and was traveling on vacation.
The soccer players’ union in Australia has called on the International Olympic Committee and soccer’s governing body to consider sporting sanctions against Thailand and Bahrain following the continued detention of refugee footballer Hakeen al-Araibi in Bangkok.
Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica in a statement called the detention “a flagrant breach of (al-Araibi’s) internationally accepted human rights as an Australian permanent resident and refugee.”
Al-Araibi has been held in Thailand because Bahrain has asked for his return to serve a prison sentence for a crime he denies committing. He has refugee status in Australia, where he lives and plays for a semi-professional team, and was traveling on vacation.
A Bangkok court set an April 22 date for a next hearing after Al-Araibi refused to be voluntarily extradited to Bahrain.
Didulica says it has only been pressure from the international soccer community that has prevented al-Araibi’s extradition to Bahrain already