‘He’s a Free Man’: Thailand Releases Refugee Bahraini Footballer Hakeem


Thailand on Monday freed a jailed refugee Bahraini footballer with residency standing in Australia, after Bahrain deserted its bid to hunt his extradition, and immigration officers stated he was instantly pushed to the airport.

Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and acquired refugee standing in Australia, was arrested in November final 12 months at a Bangkok airport whereas on a honeymoon journey, following an Interpol discover issued at Bahrain’s request.

Nevertheless, the Center East nation has withdrawn the request, prompting a Thai courtroom to approve a movement by prosecutors to drop the case in opposition to the footballer, Thai officers stated.


“There are not any grounds to carry him anymore. It’s his proper to determine the place he’ll go subsequent. He’s a free man,” stated Chatchom Akapin, an official within the Thai Lawyer-Common’s workplace.
A Reuters witness stated Araibi was seen leaving the Bangkok remand jail in a automotive and immigration officers stated he was heading for the primary worldwide airport within the Thai capital.

Rights group Amnesty Worldwide, which lobbied for his launch, later stated Araibi had arrived on the airport.

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

Authorities in Bahrain, which has accused Araibi of crimes dedicated in the course of the Arab Spring protests of 2011, stated the nation reaffirmed its proper to pursue authorized motion in opposition to him, nonetheless.

In an announcement, Bahrain’s international ministry stated it had famous the halt of authorized proceedings and the decision in opposition to the footballer remained in place.

Thailand’s Ministry of International Affairs stated it had no touch upon the case.

The detention of Araibi, who appeared along with his ft in shackles at a courtroom listening to final week, drew worldwide criticism, with Australian authorities and fellow footballers urging Thailand to launch him. He says he faces torture if returned to Bahrain.

Within the Australian capital of Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the choice of the Thai authorities.

“We enormously respect the method that they’ve needed to work via and we enormously admire their listening to the problems which were raised by our authorities and plenty of others,” he advised a information convention.

On social community Twitter, former Australia soccer captain Craig Foster, who had helped foyer officers at world governing physique FIFA, stated, “My thanks go to the fantastic folks of Thailand to your help and to the Thai authorities for upholding worldwide regulation.”

Araibi has stated he needs to return to Australia, the place he has lived since 2014 and performs for a Melbourne soccer membership.

He was convicted of vandalising a police station throughout 2011 anti-government protests in Bahrain and sentenced in absentia after he fled. Araibi denies the fees, saying he was taking part in in a televised soccer match on the time of the police station assault.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has stated Araibi was tortured by Bahraini authorities due to his brother’s political actions in the course of the 2011 protests.

Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture.

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen

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