Hakeem Al-Araibi To Be Freed After Thai Court Drops Extradition Case

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

Federation Internationale de Football Association is extremely pleased to see Hakeem Al-Araibi released from prison in Thailand and allowed to travel back to his home in Australia.

Monday brought a stunning about-turn from the Bahraini government, which withdrew the extradition request, said Chatchom Akapin, Director-General of the International Affairs Department at the prosecutor's office.

Mr Araibi was granted refugee status in Australia after fleeing charges in Bahrain connected to Arab Spring protests but was stopped in Thailand in November attempting to go on his honeymoon.

A similar campaign was launched on behalf of Araibi by human rights groups, fellow soccer players and other activists - including the heroes who helped save a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave past year - with the hashtag #SaveHakeem.

FILE PHOTO: Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi leaves Thailand's Criminal Court, in Bangkok, Thailand February 4, 2019.

Former Socceroo Craig Foster has been leading a tireless campaign to free the footballer but the Thai authorities have steadfastly refused to bend the law, despite Thailand and Australia admitting the Interpol notice for his arrest had been issued in error.

Mr Al-Araibi had been held at the Bangkok Remand Prison for two months after Bahrain said it would proceed with the extradition.

"Many wonderful people stepped forward to help Hakeem". "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me". My thoughts are with Hakeem's wife.

It was not immediately clear when or why Bahrain withdrew its request. Her nightmare will shortly be at an end.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported Sunday that Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa had a phone call with Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, but offered no specifics on their discussions.

Bahrain wanted him returned to serve a 10-year prison sentence he received in absentia in 2014 for an arson attack that damaged a police station, which he denies.

Australian police acknowledge doing so, but there have been questions raised about why the Red Notice appeared to have been issued just before al-Araibi departed on his trip, and whether Bahraini authorities had been tipped off about his travel plans.

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. "(P) eople everywhere standing up for good, pushing back against regimes who flout global law, for human rights".

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