Hakeem Al-Araibi To Be Freed After Thai Court Drops Extradition Case

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Thailand will free by the end of Monday a refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia who was arrested more than two months ago, a prosecutor in the case said, after Bahrain abandoned its bid to seek his extradition.

A Thai court approved the request to drop extradition proceedings, according to Chatchom Akapin, director general of Foreign Affairs for the Office of the Attorney General.

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

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.

He was detained in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice requested by Bahrain. He was detained upon his arrival in Bangkok in November while on a holiday at the request of Bahrain relayed through Interpol - from the worldwide police body's Australian office.

He denied the allegations and said he was tortured by his captors during his detention before fleeing to Iran when he was allowed to travel to Qatar for a football match. He said he believed he was targeted for arrest because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain.

"The Thai government should see that Bahrain's sole motive is to further punish Hakeem for the peaceful political opinions he expressed", Amnesty International Thailand campaigner Katherine Gerson said in an earlier statement.

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

"The court will now issue an order to release Mr Hakeem from jail today", said Chatchom, the director-general of the office's worldwide affairs department.

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