Bahrain hands over al-Araibi documents

Daniel McCulloch and Katina Curtis
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HAKEEM AL ARAIBI ARRIVAL

It is unclear whether Bahrain is now asking Australia to extradite refugee Hakeem al-Araibi

Australia is unlikely to let refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi be taken back to Bahrain should his home country ask for him to be extradited.

And the federal police will look at how Bahrain was tipped off that the 25-year-old was travelling to Thailand before his trip, allowing the country to wrongly issue an Interpol red notice.

Al-Araibi on Tuesday returned to Australia after being locked up for two months in Thailand.

Bahrain hauled in Australia's ambassador and handed over "relevant court documents" related to al-Araibi's extradition, including an international arrest warrant, the Kingdom of Bahrain said in a statement.

It is unclear whether the kingdom is now asking Australia to extradite al-Araibi to Bahrain.

"The aforementioned convictions are the legal basis on which the extradition request to Australian authorities was sought by the Ministry of Justice through diplomatic channels," the statement says.

However, Australia does not have a bilateral extradition treaty with Bahrain, nor is the country listed in other extradition regulations.

"As has been noted publicly, Mr al-Araibi is an Australian permanent resident and a protected person, and, as such, any surrender could place Australia in breach of our international obligations," a spokesman for Attorney-General Christian Porter told AAP.

Australia lobbied Thailand for al-Araibi's release after he was detained at Bangkok airport on November 27, because he was wanted by Bahrain which convicted him in absentia for vandalising a police station in 2012.

The footballer denies this and says he was playing in a televised soccer match when the police station was attacked.

The Thai government dropped the extradition case and freed him on Monday night.

The federal opposition believes Australian authorities now have questions to answer over the affair.

"I think one of the key issues is whether the automated Interpol red notice system is fit-for-purpose when it comes to people like Hakeem who are refugees," foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong told ABC radio.

"I think that needs to be explored."

Australian Federal Police notified Thailand that al-Araibi was on his way and subject to an Interpol red notice, without mentioning he was a refugee with Australian protection.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said on Tuesday the government would look into that aspect and he expected the AFP commissioner would have something to say shortly.

Senator Wong intends to pursue the issue during budget estimates hearings in Canberra next week, while the Greens want to launch a parliamentary inquiry.