Refugee Footballer Hakeem al-Araibi Attends Court in Bangkok
Hakeem al-Araibi, a refugee soccer participant, leaves Bangkok’s Felony Courtroom on February 4, 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Bangkok — A Thai court docket ordered the discharge of a refugee soccer participant on Monday after prosecutors mentioned they had been now not searching for his extradition to Bahrain in a case that had drawn worldwide consideration. Courtroom spokesman Suriyan Hongvilai mentioned that Hakeem al-Araibi was being processed for launch.

Thailand had come underneath nice strain from Australia’s authorities, sporting our bodies and human rights teams to ship al-Araibi again to Australia, the place he has refugee standing and performs semi-professional soccer.

Prosecutors on Monday submitted to court docket a request to withdraw the case to extradite al-Araibi to Bahrain, the place he faces a 10-year jail sentence for an arson assault that broken a police station. He has denied these costs and says the case is politically motivated.

Prosecutors made the choice after Thailand’s overseas ministry despatched their division a letter Monday morning that indicated that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for al-Araibi, mentioned Chatchom Akapin, the director basic of the legal professional basic workplace’s worldwide affairs division

Officers in Bahrain, an island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that is dwelling to the U.S. Navy’s fifth Fleet, didn’t instantly reply to calls and emails searching for remark Monday.

The state-run Bahrain Information Company reported Sunday that Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa had a telephone name with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, however provided no specifics on their discussions.

Individually, BNA mentioned Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa met Sunday with Thailand’s overseas minister who was visiting the island. Once more, no specifics on their talks had been provided.

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Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, appears on throughout a gathering in Manama, Bahrain, Dec. 6, 2016. 


Al-Araibi, 25, a former Bahraini nationwide crew participant, has mentioned he fled his dwelling nation attributable to political repression. He has been dwelling in Melbourne, the place he performs for a semi-professional soccer crew.

His supporters had mentioned he ought to be freed and is protected underneath his standing as a refugee with Australian residency. He was detained on the request of Bahrain relayed via Interpol upon his arrival in Bangkok in November whereas on honeymoon together with his spouse.

Activists praised Monday’s developments.

“It is a enormous victory for the human rights motion in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia — and even the entire world,” mentioned Sayed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy on the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. “Hakeem’s ordeal ended after 70 days when there was a transparent public stance and solidarity motion.”

Former Australia nationwide crew captain Craig Foster, who has been main the marketing campaign for al-Araibi’s launch, praised all those that labored on the marketing campaign.

“Many great folks stepped ahead to assist Hakeem,” he wrote Monday in feedback on Twitter. “All of them should be in entrance of digital camera now, not solely me. I can not listing them, however will thank every of them in time. My ideas are with Hakeem’s spouse. Her nightmare will shortly be at an finish. Our prayers answered.”

Al-Araibi, a former participant on Bahrain’s nationwide crew, says he fled Bahrain attributable to political repression and that he fears torture if he returns.

In December, al-Araibi’s lawyer in Thailand, Nadthasiri Bergman, mentioned her 25-year-old shopper was “terrified.”

“He does not wish to be extradited, clearly. He was very robust that he needs to return to Australia from the start,” Bergman mentioned.

Al-Araibi has mentioned he was blindfolded and had his legs crushed whereas he was held in Bahrain beforehand. He mentioned he believed he was focused for arrest due to his Shiite religion and since his brother was politically energetic in Bahrain. Bahrain has a Shiite majority however is dominated by a Sunni monarchy.

Thailand’s Overseas Ministry mentioned in a press release final week that al-Araibi was detained as a result of Australian authorities had forwarded them an Interpol Pink Discover that Bahrain was searching for his arrest. Australian police acknowledge doing so, however there have been questions raised about why the Pink Discover appeared to have been issued simply earlier than al-Araibi departed on his journey, and whether or not Bahraini authorities had been tipped off about his journey plans.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had in latest weeks has spoken out strongly on behalf of al-Araibi’s freedom.

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