Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs ignores the refugee status of the arrested Australian-resident

9 December 2018 – Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, yesterday 8 December 2018, on the case of the Australian-resident refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi.

The press release ignored that fact that Hakeem Al-Araibi was granted asylum and Australia recognised him as a refugee due to the persecution and torture he faced in Bahrain. The Thai MFA insisted that Al-Araibi is a “fugitive convicted on criminal offences”.

Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) would like to clarify, that Al-Araibi was convicted in Bahrain on political-based charges, which he denied and provided critical evidences, however the Bahraini authorities ignored them.

INTERPOL’s policy for individuals recognised as refugees under the 1951 Convention states that Red Notices and Diffusions are not allowed if:

The status of the refugee has been confirmed;
The Red Notice / Diffusion has been requested by the country where the individual fears persecution; and
The granting of refugee status is not based on political grounds vis-à-vis the country that requested the Red Notice / Diffusion.
GIDHR insists that there is no requirement for the criminal accusations that form the basis of the Red Notice / Diffusion against Hakeem Al-Araibi. He is recognised as a refugee in Australia and the Red Notice on him was issued by Bahrain, the country which he fled from.

Commenting, Yahya Alhadid, GIDHR President said: “We urge the Thai authorities not to violate the international laws by extraditing Hakeem Al-Araibi to Bahrain where he will be tortured. Al-Araibi should be allowed to return back to Australia as soon as possible.”

“Thai authorities should consider the information and reports on the Bahraini prisons revealing the miserable circumstances and conditions which the political prisoners are held under. They are deprived from their most basic rights, and are subjected to several kinds of physical and mental torture,” he added “Thai authorities should not deport Hakeem to face such a grim future.”

“We call on the Australian Government to exceptionally grant Al-Araibi the Australian citizenship, thus will be able to bring him back safely to the country he calls home,” Alhadid continued