World Media

Thailand drops extradition proceedings against refugee footballer

Thailand drops extradition proceedings against refugee footballer

"We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request".

Public prosecutor Settha Thianpilakul from the foreign affairs bureau of the Office of the Attorney-General arrived at the court on Ratchadaphisek Road on Monday afternoon to withdraw prosecutors' earlier request for the extradition of the 25-year-old Bahraini footballer.

FILE PHOTO: Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi leaves Thailand's Criminal Court, in Bangkok, Thailand February 4, 2019.

The pity is, the past two months of detention and fears he would be tortured on return to Bahrain could have all been avoided. But the agency also wrote that the "guilty verdict against Mr.al-Araibi remains in place" and that the "Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr.al-Araibi".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Monday that Hakeem al-Araibi had left jail and was on his way to the airport.

He was sentenced in absentia to 10 years for vandalising a police station.

Before the soccer player's release, Thailand's Foreign Ministry last week released a defensive statement in which it claimed that Thai authorities "would not have become involved in the issue had we not received the red notice alert from the Australian Interpol and the subsequent formal request by Bahrain for his arrest and extradition".

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Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the London-based campaign group the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said: "This is a huge victory for the human rights movement in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia, and even the whole world". "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me".

Former Australia national team captain Craig Foster, who has been leading the campaign for Mr Araibi's release, praised all those who worked on the campaign.

The Bangkok court previously set an April 22 date for the next hearing.

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

"Fifa is committed to protecting human rights".

The detention of Araibi, who appeared with his feet in shackles at a court hearing last week, drew global criticism, with Australian authorities and fellow footballers urging Thailand to release him.

However Bahrain has reiterated their arrest warrant for Hakeem is still current and will seize him if he returns to the country of his birth.


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