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Thailand frees Bahraini refugee footballer

IANS  |  Bangkok 

Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi, whose detention in sparked an outcry, was released from prison on Monday after withdrew its request.

Al-Araibi, a 25-year-old former member of Bahrain's national football team, fled his home country for in 2014 after he was accused of vandalising a police station. He was granted political asylum in

He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in absentia and applied to for his so that he could serve the sentence.

Al-Araibi was detained in in November on an notice requested by He had travelled to the Thai capital on honeymoon.

Al-Araibi denies the charges and human rights activists say he could face torture if sent back to He has also been a of Bahraini authorities, the reported.

His case had been taken up by high-profile footballers including and calling for his release. The Australian government, and the all lobbied

of the (OAG) asked the court to end proceedings against Al-Araibi because Bahrain had said it no longer wanted him, officials told the

"This morning the informed us that Bahrain was no longer interested in this request," said.

Al-Araibi was expected to leave Thailand on Monday evening for

Yahya Alhadid, of the for Democracy and Human Rights, said on that the charges against Al-Araibi were dropped.

Former Australian Craig Foster, who had been petitioning the international sporting community for Araibi's release, said on the most important thing now was his wellbeing.

"staff will take care of him, there'll be tears there tonight, as there are in our household right now," Foster tweeted.

"My thoughts are with Hakeem's wife. Her nightmare will shortly be at an end. Our prayers answered #Hakeemhome," he added, thanking "everyone who stood for what's right".

As Australia repeatedly demanded his return and Bahrain slammed external interference in its internal affairs, Thailand insisted Al-Araibi's case had to go through the required judicial process and that it had been caught in the middle, according to news.

In a letter last month, Al-Araibi's wife issued an emotional plea to the Thai to release her husband.

"We are newly wed and my husband wanted to do something special for us... We travelled together excited to arrive in Thailand, only to be met with imprisonment and the threat for my husband to be sent back to Bahrain where his life will be in danger," Araibi's wife said from Australia in the letter delivered to the government by his

"His future lies in your hands... Please save my husband,""she had said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 16:20 IST