(CNN)Activists campaigning for the release of Bahraini refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who has been detained in Thailand since November, warn his situation has become an "emergency" following the submission of a formal extradition request.
Global push to free Bahrain soccer player in Thailand after extradition request issued
Hakeem Al-Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014, was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok while on his honeymoon on November 27, after Interpol issued a "red notice" -- an international arrest warrant -- which is not supposed to be given to refugees.
Al-Araibi, 25, holds refugee status in Australia but has been locked in an overcrowded Thai prison cell since being detained while officials await extradition proceedings.
On Monday, Bahrain's Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, said that "proceedings to extradite him to Bahrain are in process." A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that Thailand had transmitted the documents to the Office of the Attorney-General.
Rights groups say if Al-Araibi is extradited to Bahrain, he could face unfair trial, imprisonment and torture. Al-Araibi has publicly said that he was tortured in Bahrain and that his life would be in danger if he returns.
"I think it is imperative to know that Hakeem is a torture survivor," Evan Jones, program coordinator for Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) told CNN.
"It is almost certain that he'd suffer the same fate again if returned to Bahrain. The Thai government should outright reject the extradition request from Bahrain and allow Hakeem to return home (to Australia)," said Jones.
Al-Araibi currently plays professional soccer in Australia's National Premier Leagues Victoria, with Melbourne side Pascoe Vale FC.
In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the country "remains deeply concerned by the ongoing detention of Mr Hakeem Ali Alaraibi in Thailand."
"The Australian Government is calling on the Thai Government not to extradite Mr Alaraibi to Bahrain and instead release him home to Australia to be with his friends and family," the statement said, adding that Payne has "conveyed her deep concern about the matter to Bahrain's Foreign Minister" and asked the country "not to proceed with the extradition request."
As Al-Araibi's fate becomes increasingly uncertain, high-profile activists have launched a global campaign of support, saying that his case has become an "absolute emergency" now that an extradition request has been filed.
Spearheading efforts to free Al-Araibi is former Australia soccer captain Craig Foster, who along with Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association, met with FIFA officials in Zurich on Monday to urge the world soccer governing body to do more to ensure Al-Araibi's release.
Foster said that from his meeting with Fifa general-secretary Fatma Samoura, Al-Araibi's case has been "escalated to immediate high level meetings with both countries."
FIFA "have d