Human Rights Activists Hail Dissident Bahraini Soccer Star's Release From Thai Jail

4 2019 Hakeem al-Araibi a Bahraini refugee and Australian resident is escorted to a courtroom in Bangkok

He was seen talking happily as he walked past the gate to board his plane.

A refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia boarded a flight for Melbourne early on Tuesday after Bahrain dropped its bid to have him extradited from Thailand, bringing to an end a case that had drawn worldwide criticism.

Bahraini footballer Hakeem al Araibi has been freed from prison in Thailand.

Following the development, his office resolved in a meeting that it would not proceed with the trial against al-Araibi.

It was still unclear exactly when or why the Thai Government chose to free him, however, it was understood Bahrain agreed to drop extradition proceedings against him after talks between Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and the Thai Foreign Minister over the weekend.

Campaigners believe the case was bogus and have unearthed footage they say supports his claim that he was playing in a televised match at the time.

The 25 year old will now be re-united with his wife back in Melbourne.

"Hakeem al-Araibi has left jail", Mr Morrison said in Canberra.

A criminal court in Thailand had ordered his release after prosecutors submitted a court request to withdraw al-Araibi's extradition case to his native Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison sentence.

Al-Araibi was detained at Bangkok airport on November 27 when he arrived in Thailand for his honeymoon with his wife.

Mr Al-Araibi was being held to face an extradition hearing relating to a 10-year prison sentence in Bahrain.

She said she requested his release on bail but it was denied because the court deemed him a flight risk.

Australia's prime minister has thanked Thailand for its decision to no longer seek the extradition to Bahrain of a refugee soccer player who lives in Melbourne.

Bahrain has denied allegations of torture and said Mr Araibi is a fugitive who should be returned.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has said Araibi was tortured by Bahraini authorities because of his brother's political activities during the 2011 protests.

The family thanked activists, media and human rights groups across the three nations involved and around the world who had "incredibly, and in all possible means, supported us and Hakeem to achieve this release".

While it has been a long and arduous two months in detention for Hakeem, Thailand has done the right thing in dropping the case against him.

Bahrain's Foreign Ministry said yesterday it had learned about the withdrawal of the extradition case by the Thai side.

"They held me really tight, and one started to beat my legs really hard, saying: 'You will not play soccer again".

"Our special thanks to the Australian football community and Hakeem's colleagues; particularly to the former Australia global footballer Craig Foster, who has honestly put nothing before this appalling case and has never lost any chance but to save Hakeem".

"We greatly respect the process that they have had to work through and we greatly appreciate their listening to the issues that have been raised by our government and many others", he told a news conference.

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