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Australian PM writes a second letter to Thai PM over al-Araibi case

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The Australian Government is pouring on the pressure with Bangkok to immediately release Hakeem al-Araibi, with the Australian PM writing a second letter to his Thai counterpart saying he was disturbed to see Hakeem al-Araibi in shackles at the Criminal Court on Monday.

“I’ve written to him again, because I was very disturbed at the appearance of Hakeem at the hearing the other day,” Australian PM Scott Morrison said.

“He was shackled and I thought that was very upsetting and I know it would have upset many Australians. I’m respectfully reminding the Thai prime minister that Australians feel very strongly about this, very, very strongly.”

In his first letter, Mr Morrison called for Thailand to send al-Araibi back to Australia. Al-Araibi has lived in Australia for about five years with refugee status and Australian residency after fleeing what he described as torture in his native nation.

The Australian PM’s demands were made despite the fact that it was Australian Interpol that issued a “red notice” for al-Araibi a few days ahead of his departure for a honeymoon trip in Thailand. Bahrain, which wants the footballer to serve a jail term of 10 years on a criminal charge, learnt about his travel and requested that the Thai side arrest him.

It was reported that al-Araibi informed the Australian side about his trip and received a green light, so he left for Thailand only to be arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport on November 27 last year.

The 25 year old says he fears being returned to Bahrain where he believes he could face imprisonment and torture.

The Thai Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday saying the Kingdom would not have become involved in the issue had it not received the red-notice alert from the Australian Interpol and the subsequent formal request by Bahrain for his arrest and extradition.

“Thailand does not gain anything from having him in custody, but has legal obligations and commitments to the international community,” reads the statement.

“Thailand found itself in the middle of a conflict and it had no other legitimate option but to cooperate in line with the law.”

It suggested that the two countries talk to each other to sort out the problem and come up with their own solution, instead of trying to find an indirect solution from Thailand, which has only become involved in this case by chance.

Separately, in what is described as a sports sanction, Football Federation Australia (FFA) has cancelled a training trip of its Under-23s to Thailand, to protest against its continued detention of al-Araibi.

Coach Graham Arnold said Australian national teams stood with al-Araibi, who faces detention in a Thai jail until at least August this year before discovering his fate.

Meanwhile, Australia Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday faced stiff backlash on social media after announcing a sponsorship deal with Thai Airways. The club was accused of being “tone deaf” and “failing to read the room”.

The Club later apologised “unreservedly” for any offence caused and said the club stood in full support of al-Araibi’s cause and will use its new relationship to engage with the airline directly.

Australian PM writes a second letter to Thai PM over al-Araibi case | News by Thaiger

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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Myanmar

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup

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Photo via Facebook/ Htar Htet Htet

A former pageant queen Htar Htet Htet has been vocal about her opposition to the military takeover in her home country, Myanmar. But recently, she took her stance even farther by posting a photo of herself in a black combat outfit with an assault rifle, showing support for the ethnic armies fighting against the state military.

The Myanmar military took over the civilian government in February, ousting the state counsellor who had won the election in a landslide. Since then around 750 people have been killed by security forces.

Ethnic armies that occupy border regions have opposed the military takeover, including the prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union. Recently, Karen troops attacked and took over a state military outpost near the Thai border. Around 2,000 people have fled to Thailand to escape the violence.

The 32 year old, who represented Mynamar in the 2013 Miss Grand International pageant in Thailand, wrote on Facebook saying “the time has come to fight back.”

“Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed.

I will fight back as much as I can. I am ready and prepared to give up everything. I am even ready to pay with my life.”

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Bangkok

More than 2,000 inmates in Bangkok test positive for Covid-19

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Bangkok Remand Prison / Google

More than 2,000 inmates at the Bangkok Remand Prison and at the Women’s Correctional Institution have tested positive for Covid-19. The announcement from the Department of Corrections follows the recent news that a protest leader tested positive for Covid-19 after spending 8 weeks in jail awaiting trial for lese majeste charges.

Pro-democracy activist Panusya “Rung” Sithijirawattanaku made a post on Facebook saying she tested positive for Covid-19. She had been held in the Women’s Correctional Institution for 59 days and was released on bail on May 6.

The Department of Corrections says 2,835 inmates have tested positive for the virus including 1,795 at Bangkok Remand Prison, making up more than half the prison population. A source told the Bangkok Post there is a total of 3,238 inmates at the prison.

The other 1,040 infections are inmates at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. The prison has a population of 4,518 inmates.

Those with severe symptoms are admitted to hospitals outside the prison while the other infected inmates are being treated at field hospitals set up at the prisons or at the Corrections Hospital, according to Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan.

“The Corrections Department has ordered all correctional facilities to set up an area for quarantine and a field hospital, with doctors and nurses on duty to provide treatment for the infected inmates… We also plan to inoculate all detainees. We are only waiting for an allocation of vaccines from relevant agencies.”

Aryut says those at high risk of infection are now in quarantine. New inmates are in quarantine for 21 days and must test negative for Covid-19 twice before being released to the general prison population.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways decision, Covid Update, farmer hit by lightning | May 12

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34 Covid-related deaths reported today, today is a big day in the long-running Thai Airways saga, with 13,000 creditors voting on whether or not to accept the struggling airline’s rehabilitation plan, An unfortunate farmer has been struck and killed by lightning in his rice field in the Phon Sawan district of Nakhon Phanom, British activist Andy Hall has been finally cleared of the last pending charge and anti-government protest leader has finally been granted bail after 10 requests

 

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