Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi set to be released by Thai authorities

11 February, 2019, 12:27 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Al-Araibi was convicted to 10 years' jail for his alleged role in a 2012 police station attack

Chatchom Akapin, the department's director of global affairs, said the decision was made under Section 21 of the Prosecution Act which allows for cases to be dropped if they are not in the public interest.

Chatchom said that Al-Araibi must now be released as soon as possible.

ABC's Juanita Phillips tweeted that the footballer was flying back to Australia on Monday night.

Officials in Bahrain, an island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that's home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

As a recognised refugee travelling on an Australian travel document, Araibi should never have been subject to an Interpol red notice.

Araibi has said he wants to return to Australia, where he has lived since 2014 and plays for a Melbourne football club. He was detained upon his arrival in Bangkok in November while on a holiday at the request of Bahrain relayed through Interpol - from the worldwide police body's Australian office.

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Morrison said he was "pleased" with the outcome and thanked the Thai government, as well as Australian football identity Craig Foster for his advocacy on the case.

The 25-year-old fears being returned to Bahrain where he believes he could face imprisonment and torture.

The Guardian has been told by Gulf democracy advocates and al-Araibi's Thai lawyer that the Thai government has pulled the extradition case out of the courts. Thai officials had said a trial could be lengthy, depending on how many witnesses are called by each side.

"We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request. It is a commitment enshrined in our human rights policy", he said.

Chatchom added that the process to release Araibi is under way. She said "a great deal" of work had gone on behind the scenes.

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