Araibi's lawyers mull new bail bid

Next court hearing set for April 22

Hakeem al-Araibi is taken from the holding pen to the Criminal Court for his first extraditon hearing last Monday. His legal team has grown to eight advocates - six Thais, one Australian and an American. (AP photo)

The legal team representing Hakeem al-Araibi, 25, is considering filing a new bail request for the refugee Bahraini footballer on Wednesday, Nadthasiri Bergman, one of the lawyers in the team said Sunday.

The new bid seeking to have Araibi released on bail while fighting a legal case against attempts to have him extradited to Bahrain came after the Criminal Court denied him bail last Monday.

He has fled criminal charges related to the 2011 Arab Spring protests against Bahrain's government. He was detained upon his arrival in Bangkok in November while on honeymoon, and subsequently was held pending the completion of the extradition request by Bahrain.

The Bangkok court has set an April 22 date for its next hearing.

The team -- consisting of six Thais, one Australian and one American -- is aware there has not been any single suspect in any extradition case who has ever been granted bail before, Ms Nadthasiri said. However, the team still hopes its plan to request for an option to wear an electronic monitoring device will assure the court Araibi won't abscond and that his bail bid will be approved, she said.

A surety of between 2 million baht and 5 million baht will be submitted to support the new bail application, she said.

One key reason the legal team will highlight in the new bail request is that his detention will make it difficult for the team to prepare for the court battle against the requested extradition as several documents are required to be written in several languages and interpreters will have to work directly with Araibi, she said.

The Australian and American members of the lawyer team both have expertise in international and trans-border laws and are compiling evidence to back the team's battle against the requested extradition of Araibi, she said.

Thailand is caught between Bahrain, which is seeking the extradition of Araibi, and Australia, which is calling for him to be freed given his refugee status there.

Bahrain wants him returned to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia in 2014. The Bahraini government insists Araibi be treated as a convicted fugitive. It said the footballer would have the chance to appeal in its own domestic courts.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent a letter last month urging Thailand to stop the extradition, and football governing bodies and human rights activists have urged the country to let him return to Australia, where he plays for a semi-professional team.


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