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Bahrain footballer Hakeem's wife asks Thai PM not to extradited him to his native country

Hakeem Al Araibi

Bengaluru, January 30: Bahrain footballer Hakeem Al Araibi's wife has pleaded with Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha not to extradited him to his native country, saying he faces torture there and should be sent back to asylum in Australia.

"He would go back to face imprisonment, torture and possible death. Please help my husband. I don't want to lose him," Araibi's wife wrote in an open letter to Prayuth.

"I am terrified that the final decision to deport him will take place within the next few days," she said in the letter, which was obtained from Araibi's lawyer.

Lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman said Hakeem's wife has asked for her name not to be published out of fear of her safety.

Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and was later granted asylum in Australia, was arrested in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.

He was convicted of vandalising a police station in Bahrain and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia. He denies wrongdoing, saying he was playing in a televised football match at the time of the alleged vandalism.

Human rights groups say Bahraini authorities tortured Araibi because of his brother's political activities during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture.

Araibi's wife said in her letter the newly wed couple travelled from Australia to Thailand "because we thought it would be the perfect country to have our honeymoon" but instead found themselves in a nightmare of arrest and detention.

Araibi has also been a vocal critic of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who is a cousin of the Bahraini king.

Sheikh Salman has recused himself from the Araibi case and the AFC joined football's world governing body FIFA this week in urging Thailand to allow Araibi to return to Australia.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, January 30, 2019, 14:38 [IST]
    Other articles published on Jan 30, 2019
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