The footballer refugee arrested in Thailand almost had his Australia protection visa cancelled over the matter, new documents reveal.
A trail of bureaucratic bungles leading to the overseas arrest of Melbourne footballer Hakeem al-Araibi on an Interpol Red Notice issued by his home country of Bahrain is uncovered in documents obtained by the ABC.
An email from the Department of Home Affairs telling Interpol's Canberra office to cancel the Red Notice went unread for five days.
Bahrain had issued the Red Notice against Mr al-Araibi over alleged vandalism offences.
The then-25-year-old was imprisoned for months in Thailand because border officials failed to inform other Australian authorities that Mr al-Araibi, now an Australian citizen, was under protection.
The documents show Interpol had been warned by Bahrain that Mr al-Araibi had left the country on what appeared to be a fraudulent passport.
Interpol - via Australian Federal Police - was then told by the Home Affairs department it was a legitimate travel document and he was on a protection visa, but the email went unread for five days.
Home Affairs then considered cancelling Mr al-Araibi's visa based on the Red Notice.
It was already known Australian Border Force officers failed to warn the AFP and Home Affairs that Mr al-Araibi was under protection.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said officials had already noted there had been a "human error" in the case.
"(Border Intelligence) Fusion Centre, the ABF, the Australian Federal Police work on thousands of cases each year but in this one case, they made an error," he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
"They are looking at their systems and we want to ensure that this doesn't happen again."
Australian Associated Press