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

Blanche Robertson
February 11, 2019

Thailand's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) asked the court to end proceedings against Al-Araibi because Bahrain had said it no longer wanted him, officials told BBC Thai on Monday.

Court spokesman Suriyan Hongvilai said that Hakeem al-Araibi, who lives and plays professional soccer in Australia, was being processed for release.

Mr Araibi was reportedly freed at 3.55pm on Monday and was expected to return to Australia on Monday night.

The movement to save Hakeem Al-Araibi has spread across the footballing world.

Bahrain has now dropped an extradition request made to Thailand, paving the way for Al-Araibi to return to Australia.

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.

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Al-Araibi has always maintained his innocence, insisting he fled his home country due to political repression and fears he will face torture if sent back.

The 25-year-old was detained in Bangkok more than two months ago for alleged vandalism offences in his native Bahrain.

Sounds familiar: Even a Bahrain government-ordered investigation reported deaths from torture in 2011 and said detainees were electrocuted, beaten on the soles of their feet, otherwise abused and reported being squeezed into tiny cells, sexually assaulted and other horrors.

A court filing from Thai prosecutors had noted that while Thailand and Bahrain do not have an extradition treaty, extradition is still possible by law if Bahrain makes an official request - which it did - and if the crime is punishable by more than a year's imprisonment and is not politically motivated or a military violation.

He said Federation Internationale de Football Association has not discussed imposing sanctions on either Bahrain or Thailand over the case.

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