Hakeem Al-Araibi will walk free after Bahrain drops extradition request

Hakeem Al-Araibi will walk free after Bahrain drops extradition request

The extradition case against refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi has been dropped and he will be flying home soon, the Thai attorney-general's office has confirmed.

Bahrain footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is brought to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Feb 4 for an extradition request from Bahrain. Having been dragged off his flight into detention on arrival on November 27, after a few days of detention at Suvarnabhumi Airport a ticket and a boarding pass was placed in his hands and they were prepared to return to Melbourne.

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.

It was not immediately clear when or why Bahrain withdrew its request.

Hakeem Al-Araibi is led into court in Bangkok during an earlier hearing. He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. Araibi had said he faced torture if returned to Bahrain. "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me".

He has said he was blindfolded and had his legs beaten while he was held in Bahrain previously.

Around the time of his arrest in Bahrain, Arab Spring uprisings were upending establishments across the Middle East and Bahrain, a small island nation in the Persian Gulf, was cracking down on its own pro-democracy demonstrators.

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He was convicted in absentia in 2014 for damaging a police station. His brother is serving his own 10-year sentence, the Times reports.

Australia has acknowledged it notified Thai authorities about Araibi's travel, but vehemently rejected claims that it issued the initial red notice. "My life is in danger".

"Australia is reviewing our procedures so that this does not happen again", the Embassy said. There was no equivalent of the #SaveHakeem campaign now catching on online when, for example, Thailand turned over a planeload of asylum-seekers to China in 2015, flown back with their heads covered in black hoods and flanked by masked Chinese security agents. On Monday, they celebrated news of his release.

"We salute the tireless campaigning of Craig Foster and Professional Footballers Australia to secure Hakeem's release".

Bahrain continues to face fierce criticism from human rights organizations.

Foster included a new hashtag: #Hakeemhome.

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