In an open letter to Thailand’s head of government, FIFA champions football pro Hakeem Al Oraibi. The 25-year-old has been under arrest in Bangkok since the end of November. He is threatened with deportation to Bahrain.

World football’s governing body FIFA has stated in an open letter to Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, to release former Bahraini junior international Hakeem Al Oraibi, who is imprisoned in Bangkok. The situation of the 25-year-old, who is under contract with Australian second division side Pascoe Vale, is “very worrying” as he is at risk of “ill-treatment” in his homeland, according to FIFA’s letter. The World Association refers to the refugee status that Al Oraibi enjoys in Australia since fleeing Bahrain in 2013. Ask the Thai government “politely for a meeting” to discuss the case.

Condemned for arson

Al Oraibi had been arrested by the Thai authorities on his homeland’s behest on November 27 during a holiday trip with his wife. In mid-December, the arrest had been extended for another 60 days. Al Oraibi is now threatened with extradition to Bahrain, where he had previously been sentenced in absentia for alleged involvement in an arson attack on a police station.

Al Oraibi himself states that he was not in the country for the alleged crime because of a football match. Human rights activist Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch said in a DW interview that the charges against Al Oraibi were based on a confession from his brother “who was forced to do so by torture”.

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