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Wife of detained footballer appeals to Thailand not to return him to Bahrain

Sydney FC fans display a sign in support for Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi during the round 14 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets at WIN Jubilee Stadium on 19 January 2019 in Sydney, Australia. [Mark Nolan/Getty Images]
Sydney FC fans display a sign in support for Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi during the round 14 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets at WIN Jubilee Stadium on 19 January 2019 in Sydney, Australia. [Mark Nolan/Getty Images]

The wife of Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Oraibi has appealed to Thailand's prime minister not to deport her husband to Bahrain where she says he will be tortured and possibly killed.

"If he is deported to Bahrain, he will return to face imprisonment, torture and possibly death, please help my husband, I do not want to lose him," the wife said in an open letter to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha.

"I am terrified that the final decision to deport him will take place in the next few days," she said, asking for her name not to be published.

READ: FIFA demands urgent resolution of case of Bahraini football player held prisoner in Thailand

Thai authorities arrested Al-Oraibi in Bangkok in November last year during his honeymoon on an international arrest warrant issued by Bahrain.

Al-Oraibi fled Bahrain in 2014 and was granted asylum in Australia in 2017.

Al-Oraibi was convicted of damaging a police station in 2014 and was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison. He denies the charges saying he was participating in a televised match at the same time as the incident took place.

According to human rights organisations, Al-Oraibi was tortured by the Bahraini authorities because of the political activities of his brother during the Arab Spring in 2011, which is denied by the Bahraini authorities.

On Tuesday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has joined FIFA and the International Olympic Committee in asking Thailand to allow Al-Oraibi to return to Australia.

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Asia & AmericasBahrainFIFAMiddle EastNewsThailand
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