The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, yesterday took the almost unprecedented step of stepping up the pressure (no pun intended) in a personal plea to Thai PM Prayut over the case of Hakeem al-Araibi, who has been held under the most questionable circumstances in a Thai prison since he and his wife arrived here on a tourist visa for their honeymoon in November last year.
In a letter made public and published in Australian newspapers, Morrison emphasised that “the case was a matter of importance to him personally, as well as to the Australian government and the Australian people”.
Morrison pointed out that al-Araibi had a permanent protection visa issued by the Australian government, and that his government only issued those visas after a deliberate and considered process, and that Australia considered him a refugee.
Thai authorities are holding al-Araibi pending court processes to consider a Bahraini request for his extradition back to Bahrain.
It is time the Thai prime minister and the Thai authorities took a step back, took a deep breath, and decided who is really their long-term friend and international ally: Bahrain or Australia?