Refugee Pleads for Thailand to Not Send Him to Bahrain

If Al-Araibi says he is willing to be sent to Bahrain, the court can order another 90-day detention while his extradition is processed, but if Al-Araibi refuses, a trial would be held, Chatchom said, adding that how long it lasts depends on how many witnesses are called on each side.

Later, in a crowded courtroom filled with worldwide diplomats in a show of support for the 25-year-old, al-Araibi denied all allegations against him and told the judge he feared being tortured if he was sent back to Bahrain.

Bahrain wants him returned to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia in 2014 for an arson attack that damaged a police station, which he denies.

Al-Araibi was taken into custody on November 27 by Thai Immigration officers acting on an Interpol Red Notice requested by Bahrain, even though it is against the agency's policy of non-refoulement of refugees.

"Thailand's office of the Attorney-General has publicly confirmed that Thailand's Extradition Act allows for executive discretion in such cases".

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

The footballer and his wife had just flown from Australia to begin their honeymoon.

"The Thai authorities should stop all proceedings relating to this absurd, cruel and cynical extradition request,"Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International's Thailand campaigner, said in a statement on Monday".

Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture.

"Hakeem, Australia is with you buddy".

'Why is Bahrain doing this?'

"International sports has to be really forceful in condemnation of Bahrain and Thailand in terms of the way they conduct themselves".

The report indicates instances of "arbitrary or unlawful killings by security forces; allegations of torture of detainees and prisoners; harsh and potentially life-threatening conditions of detention; arbitrary arrest and detention", among others.

Bahrain also disputes Australia's finding that al-Araibi is a refugee, saying Australia had granted this status based on inaccurate information.

The case has drawn appeals from Australia's prime minister and soccer's world governing body, FIFA, for Thailand to release Araibi and send him back to Australia, on the grounds that he could face torture in Bahrain, which sought the extradition.

Al-Araibi himself has spoken of his fear of being deported to Bahrain, telling The Guardian, "in Bahrain there are no human rights and no safety for people like me", further asserting that the extradition notice was connected to comments he made about Bahrain's human rights record, saying "This is nothing to do with my conviction, Bahrain wants me back to punish me, because I talked to the media about bad human rights".

Activists campaigning for his release said Al-Araibi should never have been detained in the first place.

He says al-Araibi told him recently:"Why is Bahrain doing this?"

"FIFA is committed to protecting human rights". He fled to Australia where he was granted refugee status in 2017.

The Bahraini government insists that he should be treated as a simple fugitive and will have an opportunity to appeal his conviction in the country's courts.

  • Rogelio Becker