Refugee footballer will not be extradited to Bahrain

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Australian footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi has been released from Thai prison and is heading home, after prosecutors dropped the push to extradite him back to Bahrain.

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

Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster has built a global coalition of sporting bodies and stars - from both within football and the wider sports community - to call for Hakeem's release and pressure Thailand to return him to Australia.

Mr Araibi was granted refugee status in Australia after fleeing charges in Bahrain connected to Arab Spring protests but was stopped in Thailand in November attempting to go on his honeymoon.

Refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi in Bangkok. He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional football team. He says he faces torture if returned to Bahrain.

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

On Monday evening, Foster tweeted his thanks to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Government.

The Guardian has been told by Gulf democracy advocates and al-Araibi's Thai lawyer that the Thai government has pulled the extradition case out of the courts.

"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.

"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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