Hakeem AlAraibi to remain in Thai prison after bail rejected

| 05.02,19. 04:34 AM |

Hakeem AlAraibi to remain in Thai prison after bail rejected

Photo: Hakeem AlAraibi gestures to his supporters outside of court in Bangkok. (Reuters: Athit Perawongmetha)

Hakeem Al Araibi will face 60 more days in a Thai prison after his request for bail was rejected in a Bangkok court.

The 25-year-old is facing extradition proceedings by Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison term for allegedly vandalising a police station, if he is returned.

The hearing was adjourned until April 22 to allow for their legal teams to prepare their cases.

"Say hello to my wife, tell her I love her and I'm strong," Mr AlAraibi said as he was led away after the hearing.

Earlier, the Melbourne-based footballer arrived at court from a Bangkok prison bound in leg irons and wearing a faded prison t-shirt.

He shuffled past a crowd of Australian journalist and supporters as Thai prison guards held him by the arms.

"Please don't send me to Bahrain — Bahrain won't defend me," he shouted as he entered the court.

His calls were met by a response from former Socceroo, SBS commentator and Amnesty refugee ambassador Craig Foster.

"Hakeem, your wife sends her love," Foster shouted as Mr AlAraibi passed.

"Hakeem, Australia is with you buddy. Hey we're with you."

Recognised as a refugee by the Australian Government, Mr AlAraibi has been playing semi-professional football in Victoria.

In December, he and his wife went to Thailand on a honeymoon when he was arrested and subsequently detained on a red notice from Interpol issued at Bahrain's request.

It accuses him of vandalising a police station, charges he denies and said was politically motivated.

Australian embassy staff were in the court room waiting for proceedings to begin, along with diplomatic staff from a long list of countries, international football body FIFA, human rights groups and a large throng of media.

Supporters start #SaveHakeem campaign

Foster has been spearheading an international support network of high-profile footballers, including Gary Lineker, Robbie Fowler and Didier Drogba, who have called for Mr AlAraibi's return to Australia.

"Certainly, we've been in touch with Hakeem's wife very regularly throughout and she's extremely depressed, as everyone would be aware," Foster said.

"She's asked us to convey her love and support for him. We were hoping that we would at least be able to see him here [outside the court] and that's small comfort for us, not for Hakeem."


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