Thailand drops extradition proceedings against refugee footballer

Thailand drops extradition proceedings against refugee footballer

Thailand drops extradition proceedings against refugee footballer

A Thai court ordered the release of a refugee soccer player on Monday after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain in a case that had drawn worldwide attention.

Al-Araibi was jailed and beaten in Bahrain during a crackdown on pro-democracy athletes.

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 eventually made it to Australia, where he was granted refugee status.

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Hakeem Al Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014, was arrested in Bangkok at Bahrain's request.

Separately, BNA said Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa met Sunday with Thailand's foreign minister who was visiting the island.

The Bahraini government had insisted that he should be treated as a simple fugitive and will have an opportunity to appeal his conviction in the country's courts.

"We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request. if they don't want him, we have no reason to keep him here", he told AFP.

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Former Socceroo Craig Foster tweeted, "thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to Thai Government for upholding worldwide law".

Chatchom added that the process to release Araibi is under way.

Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had no comment on the case.

The 25-year-old was detained in Bangkok more than two months ago for alleged vandalism offences in his native Bahrain. She said "a great deal" of work had gone on behind the scenes.

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