A Thai court is considering a request by Bahrain to extradite an ex-national team footballer, the kingdom's immigration chief said Friday, as calls mount for his immediate return to Australia where he has refugee status.
He has since been held in detention.
The 25-year-old, who now plays for semi-professional club Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne, says he was arrested and beaten at the start of Arab Spring protests in the Gulf state in 2012 and was granted refugee status in Australia five years later.
He was convicted in absentia on charges of vandalising a police station in Bahrain. But Alaraibi says he was out of the country playing in a match at the time of the alleged offence.
Thailand's Immigration Chief Surachate Hakparn told reporters the attorney-general's office submitted an extradition case to the criminal court on Bahrain's behalf as the Gulf state has an outstanding arrest warrant for him.
The court "will take time" to consider the case which was sparked when Alaraibi was stopped in Bangkok on "Bahrain's request".
"We have cordial, good relations with Bahrain," he said, adding authorities were "trying to speed up the case" due to the 12-day deadline of the remand period, which began on December 3.
Alaraibi told AFP he was still in the dark over the legal moves against him. "I feel very nervous now," he said. "You can see the news about Bahrain -- there are no human rights there." A lawyer acting for him slammed the "political case" urging his release.
Alaraibi's only crime "has been to tell the truth about his government's ruthless torture," he said, adding "the world should not underestimate how far the Gulf States will go to repress dissent".
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)