Connect with us

World NDTV

Refugee Footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, Jailed In Thailand, Takes Overnight Flight To Freedom

“I want to thank Australia” said a smiling Hakeem al-Araibi. “This is my country,” he said.

Melbourne: 

Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi made a triumphant return to Australia Tuesday, ending a two month ordeal that saw him jailed in Thailand and threatened with forced return to his native Bahrain.

A throng of well wishers decked in #SAVEHAKEEM T-shirts cheered and sang the football anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as they greeted the 25-year-old defender at Melbourne Airport, after an overnight flight to freedom aboard Thai Airways flight 465.

“I want to thank Australia” said a smiling Araibi “this is my country.”

“I don’t have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia. I will die in Australia and I love Australia,” he said.

Araibi was detained on November 27 while on honeymoon at the request of Bahraini authorities who accuse him of offences linked to the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

His detention sparked worldwide outcry and a protracted diplomatic dispute between Bahrain, Thailand and Australia that raised questions about the neutrality of Interpol and the writ of Canberra’s refugee protections.

Araibi had expressed fear that he would be tortured and killed if he returned to Bahrain and supporters alleged his prosecution was politically motivated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison led celebration of Araibi’s release, saying many Australians’ prayers had been answered.

“Hakeem is coming home,” he said in Canberra. “We have seen the picture of him on the plane, with a smile on his face, and that’s great to see.”

Morrison thanked the Thai authorities, who had earlier left his written appeals for Araibi’s return unanswered, but abruptly dropped extradition proceedings on Monday at Bahrain’s request.

“We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request… if they don’t want him, we have no reason to keep him here,” Chatchom Akapin, a director-general in the Thai prosecutor’s office, told AFP.

The case had also become a cause celebre in the football world, with stars like Didier Drogba calling for Araibi’s release and FIFA urging the Thai football authorities to intervene.

The international football governing body on Monday thanked Thailand in a statement for “doing the right thing” and said it hoped the athlete “will be able to resume his footballing career soon”.

“Cruel and inhumane”

Former Australian football captain Craig Foster, who led a campaign in the sporting community for Araibi’s freedom, expressed his “deepest gratitude” for the news.

“My thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to the Thai (government) for upholding international law,” Foster posted on Twitter.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said the case had brought the plight of others imprisoned in the country to light.

“Two moments captured the world’s attention this month: the photo of footballer Hakeem al-Araibi shackled and barefoot, and the moment of Hakeem breaking the chains and reunited with his beloved wife, friends and the football community in Melbourne.”

Kasit Piromya, a board member of the lobby group ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, said the footballer’s case showed the failings of Thailand’s “outdated” laws and policies.

Thailand’s treatment of refugees has been thrust under international scrutiny in recent weeks.

In January, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who ran away from her family arrived in Bangkok’s airport, and armed with a smartphone and a captive Twitter audience managed to outmanoeuvre Thai authorities and gain refuge in Canada following her pleas for asylum from her “abusive” family.

Bahrain’s reversal of Araibi’s extradition is surprising.

Only last week the Gulf state issued a statement defending its decision to pursue the footballer after he fled while awaiting trial, and he was convicted in absentia in 2014 for damaging a police station.

But Araibi says his prosecution was motivated by his criticism of Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s ruling family.

A statement from Bahrain’s foreign ministry on Monday said it “takes note of the halt in legal proceedings” though it did not confirm it had withdrawn its extradition request.

“The guilty verdict against Mr. Al Araibi remains in place…. (Bahrain) reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against (Araibi),” the statement said.

The reversal came a day after Thailand’s foreign minister met with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Manama to “discuss… areas of interest”, according to Bahrain’s state-run news agency.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)







Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World NDTV

French Police Hit With Poo Bombs At “Yellow Vest” Protests

Saturday marked the 16th straight weekend of “yellow vest” demonstrations in France since November.

France: 

French police are facing a new form of weapon during “yellow vest” protests — bags of fecal matter thrown bomb-like by demonstrators.

On Saturday “bags filled with faeces were thrown at police and exploded. Three policemen were soaked through with it,” Rudy Manna from the Alliance police trade union in the southern port city of Marseille told AFP.

One policeman also suffered an elbow injury when hit by “a poop-filled projectile”, Marseille police headquarters said.

Similar incidents took place in the southern city of Montpellier, police trade union representatives said.

Police said there had been calls on social media ahead of Saturday’s demonstrations for demonstrators to arm themselves with ‘Caca-tovs’ — after Molotov cocktails but filled with “caca”, the French term for poo.

“The policemen were deeply humiliated,” Manna said, adding that none of the perpetrators, hidden in a crowd of about 1,000 demonstrators in Marseille, had been identified.

Saturday marked the 16th straight weekend of “yellow vest” demonstrations in France since November, which have often seen security forces targeted with stones and other projectiles. 

Authorities said nearly 40,000 people took part.

A total of 11 people have died during the demonstrations which began over fuel taxes but mushroomed into a revolt by people in rural and small-town France against French President Emmanuel Macron.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)







Source link

Continue Reading

World NDTV

Weeks After Ban Announcement, Hafiz Saeed’s Outfits Still Operate In Pakistan

Hafiz Saeed’s Jaamat-ud-Dawa had been kept on watchlist of the Pakistan’s interior ministry. (Reuters)

New Delhi: 

 

Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation have not been banned by Pakistan despite its announcement about 14 days ago. The two terror outfits continue to be only in the list of groups under watch, according to Pakistan government’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA).

On February 21, Pakistan government had announced that it had banned the JuD and FIF, amid intense global pressure to rein in the terror groups following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers lost their lives.

“This implies that Pakistan has lied on the ban on Jud and FIF. In fact, it has just altered the date of the watch list placement to fool the world,” a senior security official said.

A spokesperson of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry had said on February 21 that the decision to ban these two groups was taken during a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organisations,” the spokesperson had said in a statement.

“It was further decided that Jamat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organizations by the Ministry of Interior,” he added.

According to officials, JuD’s network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Hafiz Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for any information.

The NCTA has so far banned 69 terror groups. A sizeable number of these groups are based in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).







Source link

Continue Reading

World NDTV

British PM Theresa May’s Lawyer Seeks Legal Fix To The Brexit Riddle

Ms May promised to seek “legally binding changes” to the Withdrawal Agreement.

LONDON: 

Prime Minister Theresa May’s top lawyer will try to clinch a Brexit compromise with the European Union this week in a last ditch bid to win over rebellious British lawmakers before crunch votes that could delay the divorce for three months.

The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29 but Ms May is hoping to win over at least 115 more British lawmakers by agreeing a legal addendum with the EU on the most controversial part of the deal – the so called Irish border backstop.

Concerns about the backstop, an insurance policy aimed at preventing a return to hard border controls between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, helped prompt lawmakers to reject Ms May’s deal on Jan. 15 by 432 to 230 votes.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, Britain’s top government lawyer, is due back in Brussels on Tuesday and will seek legally binding changes to the Irish border backstop.

“The attorney general continues with his work to ensure we get legally-binding changes to ensure that we are not locked in the backstop,” Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said. “The negotiations are at a critical and sensitive point.”

Brokenshire said the aim was to address lawmakers’ main concern: that Britain could be trapped in the backstop – and thus EU rules – indefinitely.

As Brexit goes down to the line, investors are watching to see if Ms May can win over enough lawmakers to her deal: if she cannot, then the exit date is almost certain to be delayed by lawmakers eager to avoid a potentially disorderly no-deal exit.

Ms May promised to seek “legally binding changes” to the Withdrawal Agreement, though the EU has refused to reopen the draft treaty. Parliament will vote on her tweaked deal by March 12.

If it rejects the deal, lawmakers will have a vote on whether to leave without a deal and then on whether to delay Brexit, probably by a few months until the end of June.

LEGAL FIX

In a bid to win over opposition Labour Party lawmakers, Ms May will on Monday set out plans for a 1.6 billion pound ($2.11 billion) fund to help to boost economic growth in Brexit-supporting communities.

The Labour Party’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, said the fund was “Brexit bribery”.

“This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing Members of Parliament to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation,” he said.

As Ms May seeks to win over lawmakers, a group of prominent Brexit rebels set out the changes they want to see to her agreement in return for their support: it must be legally binding, clear and set out an exit route.

But the Daily Telegraph newspaper said Cox had abandoned attempts to secure a hard time-limit or unilateral exit mechanism for the backstop.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that the bloc was ready to give Britain more guarantees that the backstop was only intended to be temporary and used for a “worst-case scenario”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)







Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

© Copyright Otimenews 2018. All rights reserved.