Hakeem al-Araibi to be freed from Thai prison

The extradition case against refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has been dropped and he is expected to be released from prison on Monday, the attorney-general’s office has confirmed.

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

He said the extradition case against al-Araibi, who was wanted by Bahrain over the vandalising of a police station in 2012, was dropped by the Criminal Court on Monday afternoon.

Chatchom told BBC Thai they were informed by the Foreign Ministry that Bahrain wanted to drop the case, but he did not know the reason why.

He said the decision was made under Section 21 of the Prosecution Act which allows for cases to be dropped if they are not in the public interest.

“We had a phone call from the Foreign Affairs Ministry this morning and they said Bahrain doesn’t want him anymore,” Chatchom said.

The news follows a global movement to ‘#SaveHakeem’, led by Australian football identity Craig Foster.

Foster flew to Switzerland to speak to FIFA officials and to Thailand to see al-Araibi in recent days.

Al-Araibi, 25, was detained at Bangkok airport on November 27 when he arrived in Thailand for his honeymoon with his wife.

The arrest was made after Bahrain issued an Interpol Red Notice for his detention on November 7. Australia came under fire for passing on the notice to Thai authorities before his arrival.

Hakeem Al-Araibi has been granted a release from Thai prison. Pic: Getty

Al-Araibi had been held at the Bangkok Remand Prison for two months after Bahrain said it would proceed with the extradition. He denies the charges and says he was playing in a televised match when the police station attack took place.

Support for the young footballer’s release was galvanised by former Socceroo Craig Foster with FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, high-profile players and Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for Thailand to free him.

“Most important thing now is Hakeem’s immediate wellbeing,” Foster tweeted. “Sure embassy staff will take care of him, there’ll be tears there tonight as there are in our household right now.”

with AAP