Thailand blames Australia for arrest of refugee footballer:The Asahi Shimbun

Hakeem al-Araibi

Hakeem al Araibi plays for Pascoe Vale in Melbourne

Marise Payne, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, said she was "deeply concerned by his ongoing detention", promising to advocate at the "highest levels" for his release.

The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) which is also a signatory, separately said the Thai attorney-general should use his discretion to withdraw the case to "reduce pressure from the global community and make our stand to protect refugees from persecution".

While his lawyer is seeking bail for al-Araibi, the public prosecutors yesterday said they would oppose bail, citing flight risk.

The Australian Football Federation (FFA) has cancelled plans for an U23 friendly in Thailand in a show of support for detained footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi.

Australia has appealed to Thailand to release Mr al-Araibi immediately.

"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. "Bahrain won't defend me".

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"Your wife sends her love, Hakeem. Hakeem, Australia is with you, mate", Foster shouted.

Al-Araibi, a former player on Bahrain's national team, says he fled Bahrain due to political repression and that he fears torture if he returns.

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.

In a statement, the FFA said the trip had been organised long before the crisis emerged and it remained fully supportive of Al-Araibi.

Thailand said previously that it was acting on an Interpol Red Notice request from Bahrain.

Foster said on Twitter that al-Araibi was continuing to train from prison and was happy to hear big-name footballer's were supporting him. "It is neither a political nor military offence so it qualifies according to the Extradition Act 2008", Mr Trumph said adding that the officers then made a decision to bring the case to court.

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Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said Thailand was willing to act as a facilitator if Australia and Bahrain agree to sit down and talk. He has claimed that he will be tortured and imprisoned should he be handed over to Bahrain by the Thai authorities.

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

According to the Guardian, coach Graham Arnold said Australian national teams stood with al-Araibi, who faces another two months in a Thai jail before discovering his fate.

Federico Addiechi, a representative of FIFA, football's world governing body, also attended Monday's hearing and said the organization will continue to support al-Araibi.

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.

Under global law, it is prohibited to return an individual to a territory place when there is a reasonable fear that the individual will be at real risk of suffering torture or other serious human rights violations.

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