'Secret' Thai-Bahraini talks freed footballer: Reports
25 Nisan 2019, Perşembe

'Secret' - talks freed footballer: Reports

'Secret' Thai-Bahraini talks freed footballer: Reports

Manama recognizes Thailand's right to send footballer to any country 'including ', says FM

Thailand's foreign minister flew to Manama for a "secret" meeting following global outrage on the detention of a footballer in Bangkok, media reports said on Wednesday.

The Thai foreign minister Don Pramudwinai met Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa , on Sunday where the duo discussed the extradition of Hakeem al-Araibi from Bangkok to Manama, Thai daily reported.

Araibi, 25, was held by Thai police last November and released last after Bahrain withdrew its extradition request.

The detention of Araibi, who has lived as a refugee in since 2014, invited global condemnation on the Buddhist-majority nation along with rallies and demonstrations for his release.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was also "directly involved" in the diplomacy, the newspaper reported.

The Bahraini prince and Thai premier held a phone call in the presence of Don to "review the progress of Bahraini-Thai relations and the mechanisms to enhance cooperation and coordination," the daily quoted Bahraini media as saying.

Previously, Australia's prime minister had written two letters to the Thai government seeking the immediate release of Araibi.

"Good relations" between Thailand and Bahrain helped extricate Thailand from the "controversy" surrounding Manama's request for Araibi's extradition, Don said according to the Bangkok Post.

Separately, Don underlined that Al Khalifa said Thailand had the right to send the footballer to any country, "including Australia."

Thailand had accepted the extradition request and its prosecutors argued in the court that Bahrain "promised reciprocal treatment of Thai nationals in future".

Soon after landing in Bangkok, Araibi's extradition was sought by Bahrain where he is wanted in a 2014 case related to anti-government protests in Manama three years prior.

The newspaper said that after the Thai ministers' meeting with the Bahraini prince, Manama underlined that Araibi would henceforth be "Bahrain's and Australia's problem."

Araibi has rejected the charges as "politically-motivated," arguing he was playing in a televised football match at the time the alleged offenses were committed.

A court in Bangkok ordered his release on Monday when Thai prosecutors informed the court that Manama had dropped the extradition request.

Araibi returned to Melbourne on Tuesday, where he plays for a local club.

"Australia is my country. I don't have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia," Araibi said after he disembarked from his flight, adding "I love Australia, I will die in Australia."

He thanked supporters cheering "Welcome home, Hakeem!"
A statement released Monday by Manama underlined that while the gulf country recognized the "independence and integrity" of Thai courts, it reserved its "right to pursue legal action" against Araibi.

  1. 13.02.2019

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