Cave Diving Heroes Appeal To Thai Authorities Try To Save Al-Araibi
The cave divers who rescued a Thai football team have written to Thailand's prime minster asking him to free refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from prison.
Cave diving heroes and Australians of the Year Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen have joined the campaign to save refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, writing to the prime minister of Thailand to release him from jail.
According to the ABC, a letter was sent a few days ago to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, with the support of the Foreign Affairs department, asking him to consider freeing al-Araibi.
The Melbourne-based footballer was detained on November 27 by Thai authorities when he arrived for his honeymoon, and is now waiting for an extradition hearing to return him to Bahrain.
On Saturday, Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne wouldn't tell reporters the contents of the letter Dr Harris and Dr Challen had sent.
Instead she said the government had "engaged at the highest level" with the Thai government to ensure that al-Araibi is returned to his home in Melbourne "as soon as possible".
"I did that myself when I was in Bangkok last month," Payne said.
"Obviously there are legal proceedings underway and we are monitoring those.
"We're providing the necessary assistance to Mr al-Araibi's defence lawyer to ensure that he does have the best chance of returning home and I remain in close touch with our post in Bangkok on that."
Dr Harris and Dr Challen played a crucial role in the daring rescue of 12 young boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand, drawing worldwide praise.