Thailand: Soccer player must go through extradition hearings
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s government insists it cannot free a detained soccer player who has refugee status in Australia until hearings on Bahrain’s request for his extradition are completed.
Thailand has come under great pressure from Australia’s government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send Hakeem al-Araibi back to Australia.
He says he fled Bahrain due to political repression and that he fears torture if he returns. Bahrain wants him back to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia in 2014 for alleged involvement in the arson of a police station, a charge he denies.
Thai authorities said at a news conference Wednesday that after detaining al-Araibi on his November arrival in Bangkok, they received a direct request from Bahrain for his extradition, compelling them carry out court hearings.