The Latest: Soccer union urges IOC, FIFA to mull sanctions - InfoNews

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The Latest: Soccer union urges IOC, FIFA to mull sanctions

Detained Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi, react center, arrives at the criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. The soccer player who has refugee status in Australia has pleaded for Thailand to not send him home to Bahrain, which is seeking his extradition to serve a prison sentence for a crime he denies. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
February 03, 2019 - 11:39 PM

BANGKOK - The Latest on a detained soccer player's extradition case in Thailand (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

The soccer players' union in Australia has called on the International Olympic Committee and soccer's governing body to consider sporting sanctions against Thailand and Bahrain following the continued detention of refugee footballer Hakeen al-Araibi in Bangkok.

Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica in a statement called the detention "a flagrant breach of (al-Araibi's) internationally accepted human rights as an Australian permanent resident and refugee."

Al-Araibi has been held in Thailand because Bahrain has asked for his return to serve a prison sentence for a crime he denies committing. He has refugee status in Australia, where he lives and plays for a semi-professional team, and was travelling on vacation.

A Bangkok court set an April 22 date for a next hearing after Al-Araibi refused to be voluntarily extradited to Bahrain.

Didulica says it has only been pressure from the international soccer community that has prevented al-Araibi's extradition to Bahrain already

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12:30 p.m.

A soccer player who has refugee status in Australia has told a Thai court that he refuses to be voluntarily extradited to Bahrain.

His home country has asked for his return to serve a prison sentence for a crime he denies committing.

Hakeem al-Araibi's rejection of extradition means a trial will have to be held to determine whether Thai authorities will send him to Bahrain, where he fears he is at risk or torture, or release him so he can return to Australia.

His supporters say he should be freed, declaring that he is protected under his status as a refugee with Australian residency.

The Bangkok court set an April 22 date for a next hearing. Thai officials previously said a trial could be a lengthy process, depending on how many witnesses are called by each side.

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9:15 a.m.

A soccer player who has refugee status in Australia has pleaded for Thailand to not send him home to Bahrain, which is seeking his extradition to serve a prison sentence for a crime he denies.

Hakeem al-Araibi spoke as he arrived Monday at the Bangkok court hearing his case. He said, "Don't send me to Bahrain. Bahrain won't defend me."

Soccer governing bodies and rights activists have urged Thailand to let him return to Australia where he lives and plays for a semi-professional team.

The court could order another detention while his extradition is processed, or if al-Araibi refuses to return to Bahrain willingly, a trial would be held.

Bahrain wants him to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia for vandalizing a police station, which he denies.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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