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

Refugee footballer will not be extradited to Bahrain Thai prosecutor

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.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar once again faces anti-Semitism allegations
Feb 12, 2019 - 04:17
Before apologizing Monday, Omar had doubled down on her comments Sunday night, calling criticisms a smear from the other party. House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, also of NY , said Ms Omar's choice of words was "deeply disappointing and disturbing ".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Beto vs. Trump: Dueling rallies along the US-Mexico border
Feb 12, 2019 - 04:12
The White House blamed Democrats on Monday for the breakdown in border security talks over the weekend, Politico reported. ET - the same time Trump is scheduled to take the stage one street and less than a quarter of a mile away.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sunday snow leads to more tricky travel Monday, Tuesday
Feb 12, 2019 - 03:25
For the winter so far, 64.2 inches have fallen, about 7 inches more than normal, according to Weather Service records. IMPACTS: Travel will again be hard and even hazardous starting overnight tonight and likely through Tuesday .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alicia Keys says Grammys 2019 will be "sickest" yet
Feb 11, 2019 - 10:41
The music industry's biggest night is on Sunday, when the Grammys honors music's brightest stars at the Staples Center. Alicia Keys' Sons Couldn't Care Less That She's Hosting the GRAMMYs: Watch Their Hilarious Reaction! .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top MLB Trade Rumors: Phillies Acquire JT Realmuto From Marlins
Feb 11, 2019 - 07:43
But it was only within the past week that the Phillies resurfaced, swooping in to acquire the much-coveted catcher. He's spent all five major league seasons with the Marlins, who selected him in the third round of the 2010 draft.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump, Xi unlikely to meet before March 1 trade deadline
Feb 11, 2019 - 07:15
This unfavourable development has certainly raised concerns over trade talks dragging on beyond the 90-day tariff truce. USA and Hong Kong media have reported that Trump and Xi may meet in late February - possibly around the time of a U.S.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lady Gaga wins three Grammys, Michelle Obama makes appearance
Feb 11, 2019 - 06:28
Music took my ears, took my hands, my voice and my soul and it led me to all of you and to my little monsters who I love so much. Carlile is the most nominated woman with six nominations, including bids for song and record of the year with "The Joke".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Gary Neville recalls Ronaldo goal and compares it to Martial's
Feb 10, 2019 - 12:30
The result at Craven Cottage - a 10th win out of 11 for Solskjaer - lifted United into the top four for the first time since August.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ariana Grande thank u, next
Feb 10, 2019 - 11:59
Joan tweeted: "I agree with you Ariana, I'm so proud of you..." But it's not my business, I'm not her mother. Ariana even noted during her Twitter explanation that she had "passed a Grammy's bus with my face on it".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top The Thai princess who would be prime minister
Feb 10, 2019 - 11:18
The army eventually ousted him from the prime minister's office in a 2006 coup. Thai Raksa Chart Party chief Preechapol brushed aside questions about Thaksin.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Milner: Liverpool's play was 'mesmerising'
Feb 10, 2019 - 10:54
It's a good sign, even though we have to carry on to stay there. "In the first match, we were lucky to score. They then return to league action, travelling to Old Trafford to face Manchester United next Sunday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Baseball legend Frank Robinson dies at 83
Feb 10, 2019 - 08:02
Robinson and Gibson both had the ability to hold a friendly conversation with opponents and ask how they were doing, Horton says. Horton says, if not for injuries that put a bit of a damper on his career, Granderson could have ended up like Robinson.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Whittaker out of title defence at UFC 234
Feb 10, 2019 - 05:41
Adesanya, who fights out of New Zealand, is one of the UFC's most promising prospects, taking on an all-time great in Silva. UFC officials have said the fight will remain over three rounds, and not go to five - as is the case for headline events.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top O’Rourke to lead anti-wall march during Trump Texas rally
Feb 09, 2019 - 10:16
Bush approved a border fence; construction began in 2008, ended in 2009 - but that didn't lower El Paso's violent crime at all. When Trump discussed El Paso's past, he sounded like he was describing Ciudad Juarez across the border in Northern Mexico.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Second woman accuses Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault
Feb 09, 2019 - 10:13
We believe these allegations need to be taken very seriously, and we respect the right of women to come forward and be heard. The statement said that Watson is not seeking financial damages, but is simply requesting that Fairfax resign from office.