Hakeem Al-Araibi will walk free after Bahrain drops extradition request

4 2019 Hakeem al-Araibi a Bahraini refugee and Australian resident is escorted to a courtroom in Bangkok

4 2019 Hakeem al-Araibi a Bahraini refugee and Australian resident is escorted to a courtroom in Bangkok

Morrison said he was "pleased" with the outcome and thanked the Thai government, as well as Australian football identity Craig Foster for his advocacy on the case.

Since al-Araibi's arrest hit global headlines, Australia has been at the forefront of the demand for his immediate release, arguing that he was a refugee with Australian residency and should not be arrested or face trial. "But as is always in these cases, people aren't home until they're home".

The director general, Chatchom Akapin, said they made the decision after Thailand's foreign ministry sent his department a letter Monday morning that indicated that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for al-Araibi. But the agency also wrote that the "guilty verdict against Mr.al-Araibi remains in place" and that the "Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr.al-Araibi".

Al-Araibi's lawyer confirmed to SBS News on Monday that his client is to be freed by Thai authorities, having been detained since last November on an Interpol notice issued at the request of Bahrain.

In his comments Monday, he said he appreciated the work of all involved in securing al-Araibi's release.

He has denied the charge and said the case, which has attracted worldwide attention, is politically motivated. He believed he was targeted because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain, which has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy.

After his arrest in Bahrain, al-Araibi said police tortured him. Bahraini authorities have denied allegations of torture. "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me".

He has said he was blindfolded and had his legs beaten while he was held in Bahrain previously.

The refugee footballer is on his way home to Australia after being released from detention in Thailand on Monday night.

He left Bahrain for Australia in 2014, which granted him political asylum in 2017. "My life is in danger".

A similar campaign was launched on behalf of Araibi by human rights groups, fellow soccer players and other activists - including the heroes who helped save a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave previous year - with the hashtag #SaveHakeem. Yet, Australia's Embassy in Thailand released a statement indicating it may have contributed to his arrest in Bangkok by notifying Thailand of his travel.

Hakeem al-Araibi, a refugee soccer player from Bahrain, leaves criminal court in Bangkok on February 4.

"Australia is reviewing our procedures so that this does not happen again", the Embassy said.

"We have seen our community unite in an extraordinary way over the past few months to campaign for Hakeem's release. It is a commitment enshrined in our human rights policy", he said.

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