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Hakeem al-Araibi UPDATE: “Australia never issued a red notice”

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The Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is going to file another bail request next week. His lawyer said yesterday that they will continue to seek bail while he awaits his extradition trial in April.

Meanwhile, the Australian government, which is pressing for his release and return, yesterday dismissed reports that it had put out the red notice that resulted in the footballer getting detained.

The Australian Embassy in Bangkok released a statement saying, “Australia never issued a red notice against al-Araibi. This red notice was issued by Bahrain on November 8, 2018, shortly before he travelled to Bangkok.”

The statement also said a red notice should never have been issued as al-Araibi held the status of a protected refugee and that it was a breach of Interpol regulations.

It said Canberra was not initially aware of this, and in line with procedure, Interpol notified Thailand of al-Araibi’s travel.

“When the Australian government became aware of the situation, we ensured the red notice was rescinded as soon as possible. This happened on November 30, only three days after al-Alaraibi arrived in Bangkok. Australia is reviewing our procedures so this does not happen again,” the embassy statement said.

Prior to the embassy statement, Thai Immigration chief Surachate Hakparn said he had explained the Thai legal procedure to the Australian Embassy and insisted that Thailand’s executive branches have no authority to intervene in the justice system.

“The Australian Interpol red notice was revoked only after al-Araibi was detained, so we have to follow our laws and procedures,” Surachate said.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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Business

No government bailout for Thai Airways

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Christian Junker

A source close to those managing Thai Airways’ debt rehab plan says the state is not obliged to provide a bailout for the national carrier. The Bangkok Post reports that Chansin Treenuchagron, acting president for Thai Airways, says no such commitment has been made and the government is not obliged to take on the role of loan guarantor for the airline.

It’s understood that last week, representatives from the Finance Ministry attended an online meeting between the airline’s debt rehab planners and its creditors. However, Chansin says the ministry’s presence at the meeting is not an indication that the state will provide a bailout.

According to the Bangkok Post report, a number of creditors are concerned about the carrier’s ability to secure a loan without assistance from the Finance Ministry, but Chansin insists that, should the rehab plan be judged financially viable, loan procurement will not be an issue, even with the airline’s huge debts.

A vote on the plan was delayed last week after more than 15 creditors asked for amendments to be made. It’s understood a number of creditors, including the Finance Ministry, are against the proposal of a no debt cut outlined in the plan. Thai Airways is understood to be trying to defer bond repayments.

The vote is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday, when the airline’s creditors will decide whether or not to accept the plan. The carrier needs more than 50% of its creditors to vote in favour of accepting, at which point, it will be submitted to the Central Bankruptcy Court for consideration. In the event of insufficient votes in favour of the plan, the national airline will be declared bankrupt.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Fourth prison Covid-19 outbreak: 1,725 inmates infected at Thonburi prison

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Bangkok Remand Prison / Google

Thailand’s Department of Corrections is now tackling Covid-19 outbreaks at 4 prisons. Over the weekend, more than 1,700 Covid-19 infections were detected at the Thonburi Remand Prison, adding to the more than 3,000 infections at the Klong Prem Central Prison, Bangkok Remand Prison and Central Women’s Correctional Institution.

Prior to the recent prison Covid-19 clusters, hundreds of inmates at prisons in Chiang Mai and the southern province Narathiwat tested positive for the coronavirus. Human rights activists have called on Thai authorities to tackle the longstanding problem of overcrowded prisons and to release inmates who are detained for minor offenses or who are awaiting trial for non-violent crimes.

Last week, the department announced the Covid-19 outbreaks at the Bangkok Remand Prison and Central Women’s Correctional Institution, infecting a total of 2,835 inmates. The news came out after a pro-democracy protest leader tested positive for Covid-19 a week after she was released from detention.

Another Covid-19 outbreak infecting 506 people was reported at the Klong Prem Central Prison, a maximum security prison in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district on the same grounds as the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.

On Saturday, the department reported that 621 inmates at the Thonburi prison had contracted Covid-19. Another 1,104 more infections at the prison were confirmed yesterday. There are 4,169 inmates at the Thonburi prison and 1,725 of them are currently infected with the coronavirus.

At the Thonburi prison, most of the infected inmates are either asymptomatic, or just have mild symptoms. Inmates with coronavirus symptoms are taking the anti-viral drug Favipiravir.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No more face masks for speakers at government meetings – PM

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikimedia

The PM has signed into law a waiver on the mandatory face mask rule for officials addressing Parliament. However, MPs will still be required to wear face masks, unless they are speaking. The announcement has been published on the Royal Gazette website, making it official. According to a Bangkok Post report, the new waiver also applies to local administration meetings.

According to the announcement, the waiver is being brought in for reasons of practicality ahead of the House debates in a new parliamentary session from May 22. However, it will also apply to all government meetings around the country. It is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.

Apisamai Srirangson from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration says the waiver does not affect the legal requirement for members of the public to wear face masks at all time outside their homes. She says the exception on masks applies only to speakers at parliamentary sessions and anyone not speaking will still be required to wear a face mask.

“These exceptions will only apply during the debate itself and only when a participant is speaking.”

Apisamai adds that online meetings are still the preferred option where possible, in order to avoid spreading the virus. In the event of physical attendance at meetings, she says all other disease prevention measures remain in force, with tough penalties for anyone found violating the law.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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