Bahrain opposition figure gets 6 months for Sudan tweet
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A prominent opposition politician in Bahrain faces up to six months in prison for a tweet about Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
LONDON (AP) — Persian Gulf countries would have to lift boycotts of Qatar before being eligible to join hosting of the World Cup, FIFA determined in a feasibility study recommending its ruling...
LONDON (AP) — A FIFA feasibility study concluded the 2022 World Cup can expand to 48 teams by using at least one of Qatar's neighbors as an additional host, and found there is a low legal risk to...
SYDNEY (AP) — A former Bahraini soccer player and refugee became an Australian citizen Wednesday, four weeks after detention in Thailand on an extradition request from his home country raised...
Bahrain’s Gulf Air says it is delaying, cancelling flights
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Bahrain's government-owned Gulf Air cancelled and delayed flights Wednesday as a government official acknowledged several pilots had resigned from the long-haul...
Australia police say they didn’t know Bahraini was a refugee
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Federal Police did not know a Bahraini soccer player was a refugee who feared persecution in his homeland when the agency alerted Bahrain and Thailand that he was on a flight bound for Bangkok, Australian officials said Monday.
Refugee footballer thanks Australian leader for freedom
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A refugee soccer player who was detained in Thailand for three months under threat of extradition to Bahrain shook hands Thursday with Australia's prime minister, whom he credits with securing his freedom.
Three days after he was released from a cramped Bangkok cell, Hakeem al-Araibi was welcomed into Prime Minister Scott Morrison's ornate office in Parliament House.
Refugee footballer freed by Thailand returns to Australia
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A refugee soccer player thanked Australians on his return home Tuesday hours after the threat of extradition to Bahrain was lifted and three months after he was detained in Thailand.
Hundreds of supporters carrying welcome signs and singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" were waiting at Melbourne Airport when Hakeem al-Araibi arrived on a commercial flight direct from Bangkok.
Bahrain refugee soccer player freed by Thailand, heads home
BANGKOK (AP) — A refugee soccer player was freed by Thailand and left on a flight to Australia early Tuesday after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain in a case that has drawn worldwide attention.
The Latest: Bahrain says it could still pursue refugee
BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on the release of Bahraini soccer player with refugee status in Australia who was released from Thai detention after extradition request was withdrawn (all times local):
Bahrain says that it "reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against" a soccer player who has been granted refugee status in Australia.
Column: A sad, shocking week that tested football’s heart
PARIS (AP) — It was a week of sad and shocking images for football.
From the murky depths of the cold sea that separates France and England came a chilling photograph, shot remotely, of the crumpled plane that crashed Jan. 21 as it was flying Emiliano Sala to a new career in the English Premier League, killing the Argentine forward and pilot David Ibbotson.
US officials visiting Mideast to seek backing for peace plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and other administration officials are headed to the Middle East later this month to brief diplomats in at least five countries on the economic section of a U.S. proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Thailand: Soccer player must go through extradition hearings
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's government insisted Wednesday it cannot free a detained soccer player who has refugee status in Australia until hearings on Bahrain's request for his extradition are completed.
Thailand has come under great pressure from Australia's government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send Hakeem al-Araibi back to Australia. He was arrested last year at a Bangkok airport when he arrived on a honeymoon trip with his wife.
Australia scraps game in Thailand, campaigns to free refugee
SYDNEY (AP) — Australian soccer authorities have canceled a game in Thailand to protest the continued detention in Bangkok of a refugee player who is fighting extradition to Bahrain.
Football Federation Australia announced Wednesday it had scrapped the game against China, a scheduled warmup ahead of next month's qualifiers for the Asian under-23 championships.
Australia urges Thailand free refugee soccer player
BANGKOK (AP) — The Australian government on Tuesday urged Thailand to exercise its legal discretion to free a refugee soccer player who lives and plays in Australia and told a Bangkok court that he refuses to be voluntarily extradited to Bahrain.
Hakeem al-Araibi's rejection of extradition means a trial will be held to determine whether Thai authorities will send him to Bahrain, where he fears he is at risk of torture, or release him so he can return to Australia.
The Latest: Australia urges Thailand to release footballer
BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on a detained soccer player's extradition case in Thailand (all times local):
Australia has urged Thailand to exercise its legal discretion by releasing refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne says in a statement Thailand's office of the Attorney-General has publicly confirmed that Thailand's Extradition Act allows for executive discretion in such cases.
The Latest: Thai court sets April hearing for soccer player
BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on a detained soccer player's extradition case in Thailand (all times local):
A soccer player who has refugee status in Australia has told a Thai court that he refuses to be voluntarily extradited to Bahrain.
His home country has asked for his return to serve a prison sentence for a crime he denies committing.
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Request made in Thai court to send soccer player to Bahrain
BANGKOK (AP) — Thai prosecutors submitted a request in court Friday for Thailand to extradite to Bahrain a detained soccer player who has refugee status in Australia.
Australian rallies call for Thais to free Bahraini refugee
SYDNEY (AP) — Scores of demonstrators rallied in Australia's two largest cities on Friday to demand that Thailand release a detained Bahraini soccer player who has refugee status in Australia.
The demonstrations outside the Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne's Federation Square opposed Hakeem al-Araibi's potential extradition to Bahrain.
Wife of detained refugee soccer player appeals to Thai PM
BANGKOK (AP) — A campaign by Australia, human rights groups and sports organizations to stop Thailand from extraditing to Bahrain a detained soccer player who has refugee status in Australia has gotten personal, with an open letter from his wife delivered to the Thai prime minister.
Australian PM asks Thailand to free detained soccer player
BANGKOK (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Thailand to stop the extradition to Bahrain of a detained soccer player who has refugee status in Australia, his office said Tuesday.
In a letter to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Morrison emphasized that Hakeem al-Araibi's case was an important matter to him personally, as well as to the Australian government and Australian people, his office said. The letter was reported earlier by The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
Soccer activists campaign for release of Bahraini refugee
ZURICH (AP) — 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 said Monday at FIFA headquarters that Bahrain had formally submitted an extradition request to Thailand for the return of Hakeem al-Araibi. The former Bahrain national team player has refugee status in Australia and fears being tortured in his home country.
Bahrain court upholds life sentences for opposition figures
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Bahrain's highest court on Monday upheld life sentences for a prominent Shiite cleric who led the country's now-outlawed opposition party and two of his colleagues after their earlier acquittal, continuing a yearslong crackdown on all dissent in the island nation.
Sheikh Ali Salman, a central figure in Bahrain's 2011 Arab Spring protests and the secretary-general of the barred Al-Wefaq political party, is already serving a nine-year prison sentence.
IOC backs FIFA’s calls for Bahraini player to be released
The International Olympic Committee has backed FIFA's calls for a Bahraini soccer player to be allowed to return to Australia from Thailand where he is detention while being pursued for extradition by Bahrain.
But Asian soccer's leadership is declining to publicly back the campaign to secure the release of Hakeem al-Araibi, who has refugee status in Australia.
Ex-player seeks FIFA help for jailed Bahrain refugee athlete
BANGKOK (AP) — A former Australian soccer player campaigning to free a Bahraini refugee athlete detained in Thailand wants FIFA, the sport's governing body, to sanction the soccer associations of Thailand and Bahrain if they fail to help.
FIFA asks Thai premier to release Bahraini soccer player
The Thai government has been asked by FIFA's leadership to release a Bahraini soccer player who is in detention while embroiled in extradition proceedings despite having refugee status in Australia.
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura called for an urgent "humane outcome" to the case of Hakeem al-Araibi, who lives in Melbourne but was arrested while on vacation in Thailand last month on an Interpol notice.
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South Korea, Australia, Japan aiming to improve at Asian Cup
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — South Korea, Japan and defending champion Australia all made it through to the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup knowing there is plenty of room for improvement.
Even with the arrival of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, South Korea struggled to beat Bahrain 2-1 in the last 16. The 2015 finalists needed an extra-time goal from Kim Jin-su to advance and set up a quarterfinal match against Qatar.
Korea, Japan, Australia aiming to improve at Asian Cup
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — South Korea, Australia and Japan have all made it through to the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup knowing there is much room for improvement as the continental tournament enters its finals stages.
South Korea will face Qatar in Asian Cup quarterfinals
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Tottenham will be without Son Heung-min for a while longer after the midfielder helped South Korea reach the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup.
South Korea, which finished runner-up in 2015, is one of the tournament favorites but needed extra time to beat Bahrain 2-1 in the round of 16 on Tuesday.
It will face Qatar at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday after the 2022 World Cup host beat Iraq 1-0.
Australia soccer player says detained refugee is losing hope
BANGKOK (AP) — A former Australian soccer player urged the sport's governing bodies on Tuesday to push for the release of a Bahraini refugee athlete detained in Thailand while it weighs his extradition.
Former national team member Craig Foster visited Hakeem al-Araibi at a Bangkok prison and said the Bahraini was losing hope after nearly two months in detention. Australia granted al-Araibi asylum in 2017, but Bahrain wants him returned to serve a prison sentence for a charge he denies.
UAE, Thailand make Asian Cup last 16, heartbreak for India
AL AIN, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Thailand's decision to change coaches continued to prove to be a masterstroke but there was last-minute heartbreak for India at the Asian Cup on Monday.
Thailand drew against host side United Arab Emirates 1-1 to qualify for the next round for the first time since reaching the semifinals in 1972.
4-time Asian champion runner tests positive for steroid
MONACO (AP) — Four-time Asian Games champion Kemi Adekoya has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
The Athletics Integrity Unit said Monday a "notice of allegation" was sent to Adekoya, a Nigerian-born runner who switched allegiance to Bahrain.
Pompeo takes US anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states
CAIRO (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the Trump administration's anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states on Friday, arriving in Bahrain to continue a nine-nation tour of the Middle East aimed at reassuring America's partners that withdrawing troops from Syria does not mean Washington is abandoning the region.
Australia praises Thai move on Saudi, concerned about player
BANGKOK (AP) — Australia's foreign minister praised Thailand for its handling of a young Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum in Australia, but also reminded it of continuing concern about a Bahraini soccer player granted asylum in Australia who remains in Thai detention.
Jordan reaches Asian Cup last 16, all to play for in Group A
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Jordan became the first team to qualify for the knockout stages of the Asian Cup on Thursday. Thailand now has hope of joining it in the last 16 after a change of coaches had an immediate impact, with the team earning just its second win in 22 games in the competition.
Group B leader Jordan followed up its upset win against defending champion Australia in their opening match with a 2-0 victory over neighboring Syria.
UN group says Bahrain arbitrarily detained activist’s family
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A United Nations group has criticized Bahrain for arbitrarily arresting three members of the family of a prominent exiled activist.
The U.N.'s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in a report dated Monday focused on the cases against the family members of Britain-based activist Sayed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.
Asian Cup opens with UAE-Bahrain draw, Gulf political issues
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Asian Cup host United Arab Emirates needed a late penalty from a handball to salvage a 1-1 draw with Bahrain on Saturday in the opening match of a tournament taking place against the backdrop of a regional diplomatic crisis.
Bahrain court upholds conviction against prominent activist
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A court in Bahrain upheld Monday a five-year prison sentence against prominent activist Nabeel Rajab over tweets alleging torture at one of the country's prisons and criticism of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Rajab's son Adam Rajab and four human rights groups confirmed the ruling. Rights groups criticized it as a miscarriage of justice.
Bahrain says embassy work in Syria continues after UAE move
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Bahrain on Friday announced that "work is continuing at its embassy" in Syria, reflecting a new push by Gulf Arab states to improve relations with President Bashar Assad as the war winds down.
Activists demand Thailand release refugee soccer player
SYDNEY (AP) — Human rights groups along with current and former soccer players on Saturday called on FIFA and the Australian government to intervene to stop a Melbourne-based refugee and semi-professional soccer player being extradited from Thailand to Bahrain.
Thai court extends detention of refugee sought by Bahrain
BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court ruled Tuesday that a soccer player who holds refugee status in Australia can be held for 60 days pending the completion of an extradition request by Bahrain, the homeland he fled four years ago on account of alleged political persecution and torture.
Australia wants soccer player out of detention in Bangkok
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government has called for an Australian-based refugee soccer player to be immediately released from detention in Thailand.
Hakeem al-Araibi was detained in Bangkok in November on an Interpol warrant issued at the request of Bahrain.
Thailand arrests Bahrain refugee for possible extradition
BANGKOK (AP) — A soccer player who holds refugee status in Australia has been officially arrested ahead of a court ruling on whether he will be extradited to Bahrain, the homeland he fled four years ago, police in Thailand said Friday.
Immigration Police chief Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn said Hakeem al-Araibi, who was detained upon entry at Bangkok's airport on Nov. 27, is being held legally following a request from Bahrain's government. He had traveled to Thailand on a holiday with his wife.
FIFA supports case of detained Bahraini soccer player
ZURICH (AP) — FIFA says it wants a soccer player who has refugee status in Australia to return to the country "at the earliest possible moment" rather than be extradited from Thailand to Bahrain.
Former Bahrain international Hakeem Al-Araibi was detained at Bangkok airport last week. An Interpol warrant for his arrest was issued in apparent violation of rules protecting refugees.
Asian soccer leader Salman challenged by Abu Dhabi candidate
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman of Bahrain will face at least one challenger for re-election, though not an expected opponent from Saudi Arabia.
The United Arab Emirates soccer federation says Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi announced his presidential run for the April 6 vote by Thursday's deadline.
Al Romaithi is a member of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council board, and the AFC executive committee headed by Sheikh Salman since 2013.
US naval commander in Middle East found dead in Bahrain home
WASHINGTON (AP) — The commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet has been found dead in his residence in Bahrain.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson says Vice Adm. Scott Stearney (STUHR'-nee) was found dead Saturday.
Richardson says the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are investigating the death, but foul play is not suspected.
Australia raises detained refugee case with Thai officials
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australian officials have raised with Thai authorities the plight of an Australia-based refugee professional soccer player who was detained in Bangkok and fears deportation to his native Bahrain, Australia's foreign minister said Friday.