‘Arab Spring’ soccer star arrested in Thailand fears torture if sent back to Bahrain

Hakeem al-Araibi, the 25-year-old Bahraini soccer star who fled to Australia after being persecuted for his alleged involvement during the Arab Spring of 2011, is now fighting extradition back to his home country after Thai police arrested him when he landed in Bangkok with his wife for a honeymoon. Australia had granted him asylum.

The Bahraini regime has urged the Thai authorities to send him back. But Al-Araibi said 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, a Thai spokesman said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for Al-Araibi to be released and sent back to Australia, saying he was “disturbed” to see photos of the 25-year-old in shackles as he arrived for a court hearing earlier this week.

Bahrain has accused him of vandalising a police station during 2011 anti-government protests. He denied the charges, saying he was playing in a televised soccer match at the time of the incident.

Mettle Administrative Services

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