Justice is not always served for all. Like what has just happened to Hakeem Ali Alaraibi, a former member of Bahrain's national football team and a refugee in Australia.  

21 May 2019

Amnesty International Thailand

Justice is not always served for all. Like what has just happened to Hakeem Ali Alaraibi, a former member of Bahrain's national football team and a refugee in Australia.  


“I am now safe. No one can arrest me again. 


Hakeem exuberantly tweeted on the day he was formally bestowed with Australian nationality in March 2019. “Now I feel 100% safe and no one can come arrest me again.”  


Hakeem fled from Bahrain, his homeland, to Australia in 2014 and was granted asylum in Australia in 2017. While living with his wife there, Hakeem continued as a professional footballer playing for the Melbourne’s Pascoe Vale Football Club.  


The 10-year-sentence stemming from baseless charges  

In 2014, the Bahraini Court convicted and sentenced him to ten years of imprisonment for vandalizing a police station during the democratic uprising in 2012. It prompted Hakeem to seek asylum in Australia.   


The charges were groundless. When the alleged vandalism of the police station was taking place, Hakeem was playing in a televised match. It was not the first time such baseless charges were pressed against him, though. 


Prior to that, Hakeem was subject to torture while being held in custody 45 days in 2011 as his brother was pressed with charges concerning the uprising against the government during the Arab Sprin in 2011.   


"They spent three hours hitting me hard on my legs, while saying we will break your bones, we will destroy your future, you will never play football again with these legs."  


Hakeem was nearly deported to Bahrain 

Late November 2018, Hakeem and his wife arrived at the Suvannaphum International Airport on a honeymoon trip in Thailand. He was however held in custody by the Thai police who invoked a Red Notice issued by INTERPOL in Australia. The warrant has been issued at the request of the Bahraini authorities which wanted Hakeem back to stand trial for the charges.   


Hakeem was put on trial in Thailand as Bahrain was requesting for his extradition. He was held in custody at Klong Prem Central Prison for 76 days, until the Thai authorities have agreed to let him to return safely to Australia.   


If he had been deported to Bahrain, he would have to face the “unjust criminal proceeding”  


Speaking through his lawyer while being incarcerated in the prison pending the decision of the Thai Court, Hakeem said “If I am deported to Bahrain, I would surely face torture. I am petrified and do not want to die.”   


Judicial harassment is a common tool used for the suppression of many dissents including his immediate friends and kin. His bother remains incarcerated until now as a result of joining a political demonstration. His mother in law and his friends have been subject to physical abuse committed by the authorities simply because the United Nations and the United Kingdom want to conduct an inquiry into the cases filed against them.   



Amnesty Advocated for His Release 


Amnesty International Thailand launched a public statement calling for Thai authorities to not force Hakeem back to Bahrain. Also, Amnesty issued Urgent Action for ordinary individuals to send pressures to the Thai authorities. This is because he had told that he would be tortured or die due to the unjust criminal proceedings against him. Therefore, forcing him back to bahrain would lead to human rights abuses against him, which infringes the international customary non-refoulement principle.