Refugee soccer player from Bahrain freed by Thai court, escapes deportation

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.

Chatchom Akapin, director-general of the International Affairs Department, said the Foreign Ministry had informed his office that Bahrain has chose to withdraw its extradition request, hence there is no reason to keep al-Araibi in detention.

Bahrain footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is brought to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Feb 4 for an extradition request from Bahrain.

Although Al-Araibi's release is yet to be officially confirmed, the player's lawyer Latifa al-Haouli told SBS News: "We won".

In November past year, he and his wife flew to Thailand for their honeymoon, believing his Australian visa allowed him to travel safely, but they were detained immediately when they landed at Bangkok's Airport in response to an Interpol "red notice". He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional team.

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


"This morning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed us that Bahrain was no longer interested in this request", OAG foreign office chief Chatchom Akapin said.

She said she requested his release on bail but it was denied because the court deemed him a flight risk. But it added that the guilty verdict against him "remains in place" and "t$3 he Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr. Al Araibi".

But the soccer player disputed the charges, telling The New York Times that his innocence was easily documented because he appeared in a live televised match at the time of the incident. My thoughts are with Hakeem's wife.

Officials in Bahrain did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The 25-year-old pro-democracy advocate has been sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in absentia by the Bahrain regime for alleged vandalism but denies any involvement. "(P) eople everywhere standing up for good, pushing back against regimes who flout global law, for human rights". Her nightmare will shortly be at an end.

Sounds familiar: Even a Bahrain government-ordered investigation reported deaths from torture in 2011 and said detainees were electrocuted, beaten on the soles of their feet, otherwise abused and reported being squeezed into tiny cells, sexually assaulted and other horrors.


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