February 6, 2019 / 8:39 AM / 10 months ago

Bahraini refugee footballer could be jailed in Thailand until August

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A refugee Bahraini footballer who was arrested in Thailand while on vacation from his new home in Australia could remain in jail until August while a court decides on an extradition request from Bahrain, a Thai official said on Wednesday.

Hakeem Al Araibi, who fled criminal charges related to the 2011 Arab Spring protests against Bahrain’s government, is fighting the extradition, saying he faces torture if returned.

The Thai court hearing the case will need two to three months to give its ruling after the next hearing in late April, said a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

“So between now and then, Hakeem will have to be in custody for at least until August,” Trumph Jalichandra said.

Australia has appealed to Thailand to release Araibi immediately.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; editing by Darren Schuettler

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