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“Bahrain seeks to punish Hakeem through extradition process and show strength to gulf allies”

- Radha Stirling

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai on Hakeem Alaraibi Extradition Trial

The disturbing news has broken that Bahrain intends to continue with the extradition request of Australian resident, Bahraini refugee and pro footballer Mr Hakeem Alaraibi. Bahrain has not responded to the international campaign and media pressure to withdraw their application, and Thailand has seemingly not sought a diplomatic resolution with Bahrain, a solution that is still available to Thai authorities. The unfair detention of Mr Alaraibi is placing intense strain on Australia’s long term relationship with Thailand, as many high profile individuals, groups and key politicians seek his immediate return to Australia. Australian national Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai and expert witness in extradition and Interpol cases who is supporting the campaign to #SaveHakeem, said “While Thailand continues to allow the judicial procedure to unfold, the country risks its own reputation and its tourism industry being dragged down by a gulf nation notorious for human rights abuses, torture and unfair detentions.”

Had Bahrain made the decision to withdraw its request at the early stages of arrest, Hakeem would have been free to return to Australia and the consequences for Bahrain would have been minimal; Instead, Bahrain has made the deliberate decision to push for extradition, even against its own interests with Western allies. Stirling said “Middle Eastern countries notoriously push for full extradition trials, even where they are fully aware that they will lose such a request. They do this as a means to punish individuals like Hakeem, to set an example to other would-be activists, or to show their power to gulf allies. In some instances, they simply do not wish to admit that the request was wrong or that they have flaws in their own judicial process, or admit they engaged in Interpol abuse. Middle Eastern countries often vacillate between allying themselves with Western interests or rallying the support of gulf neighbours. Bahrain does not wish to lose face amongst their Arab friends”.

Although it has already been determined that the Interpol notice was in violation of Interpol’s own rules, its withdrawal and cancelation does not mean the extradition request