Bahraini Refugee Footballer Could Be Jailed in Thailand Until August

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The Olyroos play a mini-tournament in late March in Cambodia, one of 11 concurrent groups across Asia with the 11 group winners and four best runners up qualifying for next year's Asian U23 Championships.

But the pre-tournament camp is now in the process of being moved as worldwide outcry at the treatment of Al-Araibi grows.

"We are asking the prime minister to allow Hakeem al Araibi to return to Australia", Australian ambassador-designate Allan McKinnon reiterated outside the court, adding that representatives of 15 other countries were present to observe the proceedings.

An Olyroos training camp and game in Thailand has been scrapped as Football Federation Australia takes a stand against the nation's ongoing detention of refugee soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi. "And not just to Thailand but also to Bahrain as well, and we are".

The Bangkok court has set an April 22 date for its next hearing.

A court filing last week from Thai prosecutors noted that while Thailand and Bahrain do not have an extradition treaty, extradition is still possible by law if Bahrain makes an official request - which it did - and if the crime is punishable by more than a year's imprisonment and is not politically motivated or a military violation.

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Lt. Gen. Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn said the recent case of the young Saudi woman briefly held then allowed to depart a refugee can not be compared to that of refugee athlete AlAraibi because the latter was the subject of an arrest warrant justifying his detention.

Thailand's attorney general is scheduled to hold a news briefing on the case later on Wednesday. "So, we have forwarded the case to the court".

On Monday the Thai Criminal Court ruled that Bahraini footballer AlAraibi could appeal his extradition to Bahrain, where his supporters say he risks persecution on trumped-up charges.

It said Thailand only became involved "by chance" after a police bureau that handles Interpol matters in Australia notified Thai authorities Mr al-Araibi had boarded a flight to Bangkok and was the subject of a "red notice" initiated by Bahrain.

Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi leaves Thailand's Criminal Court, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thailand's foreign ministry on Wednesday described the case as "involving two countries competing for Mr Hakeem's custody".

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"It took several days after the arrival of Mr Hakeem before the Australian authorities informed us that the red notice had been cancelled", it said.

"Thailand had previously not been aware of Mr. Hakeem's case and does not have any prejudice against him".

Former Australian national team player Francis Awaritefe, who is a vice-president of the global footballers' union FIFPro, told CNN outside the courtroom on Monday: "Hakeem is a refugee".

In an open letter to the government, the 57 signatories said the government should not deport Al-Araibi on two legal and human rights grounds. "And therefore, under worldwide law, he should not be a subject of these proceedings".

Former Australia national soccer team captain Craig Foster, who has been lobbying for al-Araibi's release, shouted words of encouragement to the jailed player.

Araibi, 25, says he faces torture if returned to Bahrain.

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He was convicted in absentia in 2014. The footballer, who has been playing for Australian side Pascoe Vale, was granted refugee status in Australia in 2017, three years after he fled there from his native Bahrain.

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