Thai court orders release of Bahrain refugee soccer player

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 11, 2019

Hakeem Al-Araibi, the refugee footballer detained in Thailand, will be freed from prison after Bahrain Monday made the shock decision to drop its extradition case.

Bahrain wanted its former national team player to return and serve a 10-year prison sentence that was handed down in absentia after he was accused of vandalising a police station.

Director of the department's global affairs section, Chatchom Akapin, said Bahrain had requested that the case be dropped.

Western Sydney Wanderers have thrown their support behind detained refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi by removing a Thai Airways sponsorship board from their stadium.

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He left Bahrain for Australia in 2014, which granted him political asylum in 2017.

In November a year ago, he and his wife flew to Thailand for their honeymoon, believing his Australian visa allowed him to travel safely, but they were detained immediately when they landed at Bangkok's Airport in response to an Interpol "red notice".

"This morning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed us that Bahrain was no longer interested in this request", OAG foreign office chief Chatchom Akapin said.

Al-Araibi plays for Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne.

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