(3.82 MB) Download Footballer calls for the release of Bahraini refugee
(25 Jan 2019) RESTRICTION SUMMARY: AP CLIENTS ONLY
ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP CLIENTS ONLY
Bangkok - 25 January 2019
1. Wide of news conference with former Australian footballer Craig Foster and Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division
2. Mid of Foster and Robertson
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Craig Foster, former Australian football player:
"We believe that it's imperative that FIFA articulate potential sanctions to both the football associations of Thailand and of Bahrain. If they are not willing to immediately step forward, advocate publicly for Hakeem's human rights and articulate to their own governments the expectations of the football community of which they're a part, that Hakeem's rights are upheld. It's really that simple."
4. Wide of news conference
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division:
"Thailand is proposing to trample and tear up the UN Refugee Convention by threatening to send Hakeem back to Bahrain where he will face a 10-year prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit, based on a politically-manufactured charge, rubber-stamped by a Bahrain kangaroo court. He will face torture, which is systematic and pervasive in Bahrain's prisons. And he could face even worse, given the way that he blew the whistle on Bahrain sports officials involvement in identifying athletes that were part of the Arab uprising protests in Bahrain in 2011."
6. Mid of journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Craig Foster, former Australian football player:
"If the life of a young player is not saved, if every effort is not made by international football right now in the next 14 days to ensure that there is no legal case, that his international rights are upheld, if every effort is not made, and if the life of Hakeem al-Araibi in the eyes of the football governance officials and the football community is not equally as valuable as both the lives of the officials, as my life, as Phil, or yours, all of the billions of dollars of influence that is brought to bear in this particular case, then the soul of football is dead."
8. Wide of news conference
ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP CLIENTS ONLY
ARCHIVE: Bangkok - 11 December 2018
9. Wide of Hakeem al-Araibi walking from detention area at back of court to prison bus to be taken to a remand prison
A former Australian football player campaigning to free a Bahraini refugee athlete detained in Thailand wants FIFA, the sport's governing body, to sanction the football associations of Thailand and Bahrain if they fail to help.
Craig Foster submitted an open letter on Friday to FIFA President Gianni Infantino calling for the organisation to inform Thailand and Bahrain of potential sporting sanctions, to meet with jailed football player Hakeem al-Araibi, and to urge the sport's Asian governing body to issue a statement supporting him.
Al-Araibi, a former Bahraini team player who says he fled political repression, was detained in November on arrival in Bangkok on a holiday.
He was granted asylum by Australia in 2017, but Bahrain wants him extradited to serve a prison sentence for a charge he denies.
Al-Araibi has said he was tortured in Bahrain after his 2012 arrest and fled in 2014 to Australia, which granted him political asylum in 2017 and where he now plays for Melbourne's Pascoe Vale Football Club.
Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, and has a reputation for harsh repression since its failed "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011.
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