Refugee footballer will not be extradited to Bahrain

Leroy Wright
February 11, 2019

A police auto believed to be carrying Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi is pictured as it leaves the Bangkok's Remand Prison, Thailand, February 11, 2019.

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 US Navy's 5th Fleet, did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment Monday.

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.

Bahrain footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is brought to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Feb 4 for an extradition request from Bahrain. He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional soccer team.

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.

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The 25-year-old was detained in Bangkok more than two months ago for alleged vandalism offences in his native Bahrain.

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

A Thai court had earlier ruled that Mr Al-Araibi would remain in prison until his next court hearing on April 22.

Nadthasiri Bergman, Mr Araibi's lawyer, said the court had given her 60 days to submit the defence's case.

A journalist from the BBC said negotiations between Thailand and Bahrain led to the agreement to drop the extradition request.

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