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Feet shackled, Bahraini footballer arrives at Thai court to fight extradition

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If Al-Araibi says he is willing to be sent to Bahrain, the court can order another 90-day detention while his extradition is processed, but if Al-Araibi refuses, a trial would be held, Chatchom said, adding that how long it lasts depends on how many witnesses are called on each side.

Dressed in a brown prison uniform with his bare feet shackled, Al-Araibi appeared at a Bangkok criminal court on Monday to launch a formal challenge against being sent back to a country where he claims he was imprisoned and tortured. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison appealed to his Thai counterpart to release al-Araibi back to Australia, and football's governing body FIFA also wrote, urging the Junta leader to step in.

Supporters say that Araibi, as a recognized refugee, should be released and sent back to Australia instead.

Campaign group #NewFIFANow has called on Federation Internationale de Football Association to immediately sanction Thailand under its statutes, which state the organisation is "committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote protection of these rights".

A court filing last week by Thai prosecutors noted that while Thailand and Bahrain do not have an extradition treaty, extradition is still possible by law if Bahrain makes an official request, which they have done, and if the crime is punishable by over a year, is not politically motivated or a military violation.

According to Human Rights Watch, Al Araibi was detained and tortured by the Bahraini authorities because of his brother's political activities.

"Stay strong. All of Australia is with you".

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne reiterated her government's call for the Thai government to release al-Araibi so he can return home to Australia.

A Bahraini footballer with refugee status in Australia will spend another two months in a Thai prison as Manama attempts to have him extradited.

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The footballer is in a detention centre and faces being extradited to Bahrain, where he fears for his life and says he was tortured in 2012 for his involvement in the Arab Spring protests.

The 25-year-old arrived at Bangkok's Ratchadaphisek criminal court barefoot and shackled on Monday morning before a hearing which saw a judge deny him bail.

Australian premier Scott Morrison has previously called on his Thai counterpart to release the 25-year-old, saying that returning him to Bahrain would infringe on his rights under worldwide law.

"He is a refugee".

Human rights groups have accused Bahrain of arresting family members of opposition supporters.

Federico Addiechi, a representative of Federation Internationale de Football Association, soccer's world governing body, also attended Monday's hearing and said the organization will continue to support al-Araibi.

Bahrain has rejected calls by human rights bodies, including one by the United Nations to free prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, who is being held in jail for posting "false tweets which do not fall within freedom of expression".

"Don't send me to Bahrain", he said outside the courthouse.

Nadthasiri Bergman, al-Araibi's lawyer, said the court has given her 60 days to submit the defense's case.

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