Sunday, 24 March, 2019


Hakeem al-Araibi: Thailand to free refugee footballer

Bill Shorten wants to meet with the detained man's wife Bill Shorten wants to meet with the detained man's
Bennie Garza | 11 February, 2019, 17:11

Hakeem Al-Araibi, the refugee footballer detained in Thailand, will be freed from prison after Bahrain Monday made the shock decision to drop its extradition case.

Prosecutors made the decision after Thailand's foreign ministry sent a letter on Monday morning indicating that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for Al-Araibi, Chatchom Akapin, director general of the attorney general office's global affairs department, said.

Former Socceroos captain and SBS chief football analyst Craig Foster voiced his support for Al-Araibi throughout his time in prison and took to Twitter to thank the Thai Government.

He travelled to Bangkok for a honeymoon with his wife but was arrested on arrival on 27 November, after Bahrain obtained an Interpol arrest warrant. He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional team.

He was sentenced in absentia to 10 years for vandalising a police station. "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me". Her nightmare will shortly be at an end.

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. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy.

A Thai court has ordered the release of a refugee soccer player after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain.

"Thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to Thai Government for upholding worldwide law", Foster said.

"Fifa is committed to protecting human rights".

He said Federation Internationale de Football Association has not discussed imposing sanctions on either Bahrain or Thailand over the case.

Court spokesman Suriyan Hongvilai said Monday that Hakeem al-Araibi was now being processed for release.

"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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