Soccer activists, FIFA meet over Bahrain refugee emergency

Monday 28 Jan 2019

Soccer activists campaigning for the release of a Bahraini refugee player detained in Thailand say his plight has become an emergency.

Former Australia captain Craig Foster says Bahrain has formally submitted an extradition request to Thailand for the return of Hakeem al-Araibi.

After meeting FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura, Foster says ''this matter has become an absolute emergency,'' adding ''we want it to be resolved this week, before Friday.''

FIFA President Gianni Infantino will join Asian soccer leaders at the end of the week for the Asian Cup final in Abu Dhabi. Samoura has written in support of al-Araibi to Thailand's prime minister.

Al-Araibi has been jailed since November in Thailand - where he arrived with his wife on vacation - on an Interpol notice wrongfully requested by Bahrain.

Human rights groups believe Al-Araibi is at risk of torture in Bahrain, which he fled in 2014.

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