Bahrain insists on footballer's extradition from Thailand

Hakeem Al-Araibi in Bangkok December. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 28 January 2019
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Bahrain insists on footballer's extradition from Thailand

  • Hakeem Al-Araibi was jailed in absentia in 2014 for 10 years
  • Interior minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa rejected external interference in the process

DUBAI: Bahrain insisted Monday on the extradition from Thailand of a footballer convicted for a terrorism offense.

Hakeem Al-Araibi was jailed in absentia in 2014 for 10 years on charges related to an attack on a police station in 2012.

The 25-year-old, who played for Bahrain's national youth team, fled his homeland while on bail and was granted asylum in Australia where he plays semi-professionally in Melbourne.

He was detained on an Interpol notice in November as he entered Thailand for a vacation.

“Al-Araibi was arrested in Thailand and proceedings to extradite him to Bahrain are in process so that he can serve his sentence,” a Bahraini government statement said.

“He had all the rights and opportunities to defend himself in the criminal case, in which some of the suspects with him were acquitted by the court,” Bahrain’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa said in the government statement.

He added that Al-Araibi may appeal the verdict if he is returned to Bahrain.

The minister said Al-Araibi, who was allowed to travel with the national soccer team while on bail, had fled to Iran from Qatar "never to return."

Sheikh Rashid criticized what he described as “external interference” in Manama's internal affairs.

“Those who speak now of Al-Araibi having been mistreated and those who question the integrity of Bahrain’s courts ignore the fact that Al-Araibi was released on bail of 100 dinars by the courts,” he said.

The footballer denies the charges against him and the Australian government have called for his release.


White House: Trump spoke to Libyan commander Haftar on Monday

Updated 36 min 2 sec ago
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White House: Trump spoke to Libyan commander Haftar on Monday

WEST PALM BEACH: The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Monday to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and discussed "ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya."
The statement said Trump "recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system."
On Thursday, mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of Tripoli, almost hitting a clinic, after two weeks of an offensive by Haftar's eastern troops on the Libyan capital, which is held by an internationally recognized government.