Footballer Hakeem al-Araibi denied bail in Thai extradition hearing

A-League players campaigns for Hakeem

The 25-year-old arrived at Bangkok's Ratchadaphisek criminal court barefoot and shackled on Monday morning before a hearing which saw a judge deny him bail.

Hakeem al-Araibi's rejection of extradition means a trial will be held to determine whether Thai authorities will send him to Bahrain, where he fears he is at risk of torture, or release him so he can return to Australia.

Given Bahrain's history of human rights abuses against those who criticize the powerful ruling family, there is no doubt that if al-Araibi were extradited, he would face imprisonment and torture.

"Your wife sent her love, Australia is with you, buddy", Foster shouted to Araibi who waved back to supporters.

Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014 before being granted permanent residence in Australia, where he played for Melbourne's Pascoe Vale soccer club, was arrested on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request. Such notices are not supposed to be given to refugees.

"Thailand has really been used by Bahrain in this situation", said former Australian soccer captain Craig Foster, who has been campaigning around the world for Araibi's release, and was at the court.

Bahrain seeks his extradition over vandalism charges dating back to 2012.

He is wanted in Bahrain, where he was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail for vandalising a police station.

"We believe if Hakeem is not released there has to be some sanctions levied on Bahrain and Thailand", Australian former football player Francis Awaritefe told reporters outside the court, adding that both countries "should at least be excluded from being able to host" worldwide matches. All of Australia is with you.

His case has also been raised by Labour MP Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan, who confirmed via a tweet that she had asked Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act in aiding the footballer "escape torture".

He was given 60 days to prepare a defence against Bahrain's attempt to have him returned from Thailand.

"The Thai prime minister should simply step up and say this is a politically motivated charge, that the global reputation of Thailand is being damaged, and that Hakeem Al Araibi should immediately be released", he said.

Al-Araibi's supporters say he should be freed and is protected under his status as a refugee with Australian residency.

Federico Addiechi, head of sustainability and diversity at Fifa, said football's governing body had stopped short of backing sporting sanctions against Bahrain and Thailand, but supported al-Araibi.

Meanwhile, the Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters not to "jump to conclusions" regarding the verdict of detained refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi.

Bahrain insists that his trial was fair and that he should return home if he wants to launch an appeal against the conviction.

Representatives from 13 embassies, including the United States, Australia as well as the European Union attended the hearing on Monday.

Bahrain has rejected calls by human rights bodies, including one by the United Nations to free prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, who is being held in jail for posting "false tweets which do not fall within freedom of expression".

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