Thailand blames Australia for Hakeem Al-Araibi's arrest

Hakeem al-Araibi

Hakeem al Araibi plays for Pascoe Vale in Melbourne

The government insisted Tuesday (Feb 5) that the justice system must be allowed to run its course in the case involving the extradition of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, as a social media campaign against his extradition using the hashtag #BoycottThailand gathers steam after images of the player in shackles emerged online.

Araibi, 25, flew to Thailand in late November previous year for a week-long honeymoon with his wife.

He is wanted for damaging a police station but the former national youth footballer says the case is bogus and tied to his criticism of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's ruling family.

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

Chatchom Akapin, director-general of the International Affairs Department at the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), said Mr Araibi's alleged crime was not a political offence, which meets the criteria for extradition under Thai law, even though Thailand and Bahrain do not have an extradition treaty.

She said she requested his release on bail but it was denied because the court deemed him a flight risk.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne reiterated her government's call for the Thai government to release al-Araibi so he can return home to Australia.

Khamis rejected the claim that Thailand were unable to reverse the process, instead maintaining that the Thai government's role in extraditing Hakeem to Bahrain was financially motivated.

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.

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.

Mr Morrison also said he was "disturbed" to see Araibi with shackles on his feet at a Bangkok court.

U23's head coach Graham Arnold said: "Last year, the national team department had put some preliminary plans in place to play against China in Bangkok as part of our important preparation for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers to be held in Cambodia in March".

I want to play football [Araibi plays for state league for Pascoe Vale FC], I swear I didn't do anything in Bahrain, ' he said.

"Given. that he is a permanent resident of our country, on the pathway to citizenship, we have encouraged the Bahraini government not to proceed with the extradition application, and we have encouraged the Thai government to exercise the discretion that they have available to them", she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from Samoa.

"Thailand does not gain anything from having him in custody, but has legal obligations and commitments to the global community", reads the statement.

It urged Australia and Bahrain to find a "mutually agreeable solution". He denies the charges, saying he was playing in a televised football match at the time of the police station attack.

The 25-year-old fears being returned to Bahrain where he believes he could face imprisonment and torture. His move means that a trial will be held to determine whether the Thai authorities will send him to Bahrain.

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