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Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has been given 60 days to organize a defence in opposition to Bahrain’s try to extradite him from Thailand.

The 25-year-old will stay in a Thai jail for 2 months extra after he confronted the Thai prison court docket on Monday to formally lodge his refusal to be extradited to the nation he fled. The choose gave his legal professionals till 5 April to file a written attraction earlier than the subsequent scheduled listening to on 22 April.

He arrived at Thailand’s Ratchadaphisek prison court docket shackled and barefoot with greater than a dozen different prisoners.He was flanked by a guard at every arm and several other extra behind him.

He shouted “don’t ship me to Bahrain”. Supporters shouted again: “Australia is with you” and “your spouse sends her love”.

Al-Araibi, the 25-year-old Australian resident and refugee from Bahrain, has spent nearly 70 days detained in Thailand whereas his nation of start seeks his extradition. A excessive profile and terribly unified worldwide marketing campaign seeks his return to Australia, however Thailand has insisted on sending him by its courts.

The Monday look marked the formal starting of proceedings after Bahrain’s extradition request was formally accepted for consideration on Friday. 

Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi arrives at Thailand's Criminal Court on February 4.

© Reuters
Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi arrives at Thailand’s Prison Court docket on February 4.

In court docket al-Araibi stood because the choose learn out Bahrain’s allegations in opposition to him. He instructed the court docket he refused to be extradited. Deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, stated his legal professionals sought a postponement so they may adequately translate paperwork however prosecutors stated they wished the case to proceed rapidly.

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Allan McKinnon, Australia’s ambassador-designate, in addition to delegates from different international locations and embassies, had been anticipated to seem as a “coalition of assist”, in accordance with Craig Foster, the previous Australian Socceroo captain spearheading the campaigning to free al-Araibi.

The coalition reportedly included representatives of greater than a dozen international locations and the European Union.

Al-Araibi was arrested on 27 November when he arrived in Bangkok for a honeymoon together with his spouse.

Thai authorities made the arrest on the idea of an Interpol pink discover which was issued in opposition to the company’s personal insurance policies, which dictate they will’t be issued in opposition to refugees on behalf of the international locations they fled.

Inside days the pink discover was lifted, however Thai authorities as a substitute pointed to an extradition request by Bahrain.

Al-Araibi’s detention was prolonged by 60 days to permit Bahrain to file its extradition documentation, which was assessed by prosecutors and given to the Thai court docket on Friday.

Thailand maintains it’s following authorized processes, and its immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, continues to check with arrest warrants, regardless of the lifting of the pink discover.

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It has continued to entertain Bahrain’s declare that al-Araibi is needed over the vandalism incident of 2012, for which he was convicted in absentia to 10 years in jail, regardless of proof he was taking part in in a televised soccer match both concurrently the crime or so near it he would have been unable to get there.

Thailand shouldn’t be a signatory to the refugee conference and has a historical past of sending refugees again to their international locations of origin. Final month, amid worldwide outcry about Saudi teenager Rahaf al-Qunun, Hakparn pledged the nation would now not return refugees “involuntarily”, however stated that didn’t apply to al-Araibi’s case.

Chatchom Akapin, director-general of the Thai attorney-general’s worldwide affairs division, has stated the extradition request is for a prison act. Extraditions for political prosecutions are in opposition to Thai legislation, in accordance with the Bangkok Publish.

The Thai authorities additionally referred to its “reciprocal advantages” with Bahrain, in accordance with the report.

Within the early days of al-Araibi’s detention, tax preparations and retail developments between the 2 nations had been reported.

Bahrain, which has an extensively documented historical past of prisoner mistreatment, together with an inquiry commissioned by the King which discovered quite a lot of deaths in custody because of this, denies al-Araibi faces hazard.

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In statements from its press workplace, it has repeatedly stated its justice system is truthful and clear, and al-Araibi can attraction his conviction if he returns.

This week it additionally disputed Australia’s discovering that al-Araibi is a refugee, with a wellfounded worry of persecution and in want of safety.

Bahrain labeled his refugee standing as “inaccurate info that has circulated to the impact that Mr al Araibi could be correctly be deemed a refugee, or that he’s ultimately prone to persecution for his peaceable opinions or beliefs”.

“In actuality, he has been duly convicted and sentenced by Bahrain’s unbiased judiciary on costs involving critical violence and criminality, unrelated to any doable freedom of opinion/expression points.”

Al-Araibi instructed the Guardian final month he believed Bahrain was searching for his return as retribution for public feedback he made in 2016 criticising Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa over his failure to guard athletes throughout Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011 and 2012.

Sheikh Salman is a member of the royal household and on the time was head of Bahrain’s soccer affiliation. He’s now the president of Fifa, and vice-president of the Asian Soccer Confederation.

Advocates and supporters of al-Araibi have known as on Fifa and the Worldwide Olympic Committee to enact fast sanctions on Bahrain and Thailand to stress the 2 governments to permitting al-Araibi to return to Australia.


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