MANAMA (Middle East Eye) – The Bahraini soccer player, Hakeem al-Araibi, is suing the Australian government for negligence and breach of duty of care after he was wrongfully detained in a Thai prison in 2018.
Araibi, who has refugee status in Australia and plays for a Melbourne soccer club, was travelling to Bangkok with his wife for their honeymoon in November 2018 when he was arrested upon arrival.
Thailand detained the soccer player in response to an Interpol red notice issued by Bahrain for his extradition. However, the notice was issued in error as they cannot be used against those granted refugee status by the country they fled from.
Araibi remained in detention for 77 days, as by the time the Australian authorities had confirmed his refugee status, he was already imprisoned in Thailand, which is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention.
According to his lawyers, Araibi suffered injury, damage, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), adjustment disorder, and lost income as a result of the prolonged detention.
Araibi said Bahraini regime authorities arrested and tortured him in 2012 for his brother’s alleged participation in pro-democracy protests, which broke out in 2011 in the small Persian Gulf state.
He became a political refugee in 2014, after a Bahraini court sentenced him to 10 years in prison in absentia for allegedly burning down a police station.
However, the soccer player claims he was playing in a televised match when the crime reportedly took place.
In 2018, Araibi raised concerns that he would be tortured again if he was sent back to Bahrain.
Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.