Thailand court orders release of Bahrain refugee football player

 

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.

Court spokesman Suriyan Hongvilai said that Hakeem al-Araibi was being processed for release.

Thailand had come under great pressure from Australia’s government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send al-Araibi back to Australia, where he has refugee status and plays semi-professional soccer.

Prosecutors on Monday submitted to court a request to withdraw the case to extradite al-Araibi to Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison sentence for an arson attack that damaged a police station.

He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated.

Prosecutors made the decision after Thailand’s foreign ministry sent their department a letter that indicated that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for al-Araibi, said Chatchom Akapin, the director general of the attorney general office’s international affairs department

(Agencies)