Hakeem al-Araibi case to be decided in court not by government

Hakeem al-Araibi a Bahraini refugee and Australian resident is escorted to a courtroom in Bangkok

Thailand's Foreign Affairs Ministry said it had not been previously aware of al-Araibi's case and was not prejudiced against him.

His appeal had no effect.

Australian authorities and football organisations have kept attention on the case through social media, with hashtags such as #SaveHakeem and #BoycottThailand.

A chained al-Araibi yelled to reporters outside court as he was escorted by prison guards into Monday's hearing in Bangkok.

Araibi's appearance in court this week fuelled outrage after he was brought in with ankle shackles.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned his Thai counterpart not to risk damaging the relationship between the two countries over al-Araibi's detention.

"Thailand hopes that Australia and Bahrain will have the goodwill to earnestly work together towards finding a win-win solution to this issue", the ministry's statement said. Using the Red Notice to excuse what subsequently occurred, is simply a diversion from the truth: that Thailand could have and should have sent him back to Australia immediately, as they originally indicated they would.

"Warders considered the detainee is of interest to society and could impact worldwide relations". They also called for him to be granted bail.

Former Australia national team captain Craig Foster and the Australian and global players' unions have been leading a campaign for the release of Hakeem al-Araibi, a refugee who lives and plays for a semi-professional club in Australia and has been held in Thailand since November past year at the request of Bahrain.

"Thailand is stuck in the middle", he said. "In that way, we believe that those following this case in Thailand and around the world will praise both Australia and Bahrain for their efforts".

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He will now spend at least two more months in jail as he awaits a judge's decision on the extradition request.

His rejection means a hearing will be held to determine his fate. The next day, al-Araibi was taken to court and served with a 12-day detention order, and on his way back to Suan Plu, his mobile phone was confiscated.

The 25-year-old was convicted in absentia on charges of vandalizing a police station in Bahrain, but says he was out of the country playing in a match at the time of the alleged offence. He was detained upon his arrival in Bangkok in November while on a holiday at the request of Bahrain relayed through Interpol.

"I'm respectfully reminding the Thai prime minister that Australians feel very strongly about this, very, very strongly".

Shortly after the court set the April 22 date, the Australian ambassador to Thailand issued a statement saying the Bahrain government knew very well that Mr Araibi had lived in Australia since 2014. Australia granted him asylum in 2017. It waited until he ventured to Bangkok, the statement said. "The government's position is that it will not interfere".

The FFA wants Al-Araibi returned to Australia "as a matter of urgency". "He is a refugee and permanent resident of Australia", wrote the ambassador.

The Australians were scheduled to play a friendly match against China in Bangkok. He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional football team.

"We are in the process of rearranging our pre-tournament camp in another Asian nation", he said.

Former Australian football captain Craig Foster along with a group who has been campaigning for Araibi's release were present at the court to lend support to the embattled player.

Read original story here.

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