Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Hakeem Al-Araibi to be released by Thailand court

Hakeem Al-Araibi to be released by Thailand court

Thai prosecutors on Monday submitted to court a request to withdraw the case to extradite al-Araibi to Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison sentence for an arson attack that damaged a police station.

Football Federation Australia have been slammed over their response to the release of Australian footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi.

Craig Foster, a former Australian soccer worldwide who led the campaign to free al-Araibi, expressed his "deepest gratitude" on Twitter.

The red notice should never have been issued because of Mr Alaraibi's status as a protected refugee.

He was arrested by Thai authorities on November 27 past year on an Interpol notice that was distributed against the organisation's own policies to not flag against refugees from the country they have fleed.

The player fled Bahrain in 2014 and now plays for semi-professional Melbourne-based club Pascoe Vale.

He also believes he was targeted for arrest because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain. My thoughts are with Hakeem's wife. Again, no specific details of the talks were given.

"I prayed and prayed that he would come back to me, and finally our nightmare is ending", she said.

Morrison, the Australian prime minister, had in recent weeks has spoken out strongly on behalf of al-Araibi's freedom.

Al-Araibi's ordeal shone a light on the human rights violations committed against athletes around the world, Foster said.

"The credibility of the Bahrain legal system and this concept that they have of rule of law has been completely discredited", Mr Foster said.

"The Thai government should see that Bahrain's sole motive is to further punish Hakeem for the peaceful political opinions he expressed", Amnesty International Thailand campaigner Katherine Gerson said in an earlier statement. Through social media, mostly Twitter, the 18-year-old publicized her case, staved off efforts to return her to her family and won refugee status in Canada.

He had faced at least another two months in jail after a court in Bangkok last week set down his pre-trial extradition hearing for April 22.

A Thai court has ordered the release of a refugee soccer player after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain. "He is a free man", said Chatchom Akapin, an official in the Thai Attorney General's office.

"Now the next step is for him to return home", Morrison told reporters in Canberra. "(P) eople everywhere standing up for good, pushing back against regimes who flout worldwide law, for human rights".

"Much more could and should have been done, however, including public advocacy by the FIFA President and the availability of sporting sanctions, and we will be calling for a full audit of actions taken by all officials to ensure that future responses are effective, timely and save lives and that every high official undertakes their maximum duty", he said. "These tears are falling out of relief and joy", she said.

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