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Refugee footballer will not be extradited to Bahrain: prosecutor

AFP  |  Bangkok 

Refugee will not be sent back to after dropped proceedings against him on the Gulf State's request, a said Monday.

Araibi, a former Bahraini national youth team player, was granted refugee status in after fleeing charges in the connected to Arab Spring protests.

But was stopped in in November attempting to go on his honeymoon. Since then, he has been detained in a Bangkok prison pending a court ruling over the request from the -- a move the has pleaded against as he fears torture if returned.

Monday brought a stunning about-turn from the Bahraini government, which withdrew the request, said Chatchom Akapin, of the at the prosecutor's office.

"We have been informed that wants to withdraw the (extradition) request.... if they don't want him, we have no reason to keep him here," he told AFP. Chatchom added that the process to release Araibi is under way.

The has repeatedly called for Araibi's return and the case has become a cause celebre in the world, with also urging the Thai to intervene.

Federation (FFA) last week cancelled the under-23 men's national team plans to hold a training camp in ahead of the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers next month.

Australian had also repeatedly pushed for his release, saying that he had written letters to his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-O-Cha and stressed "how strongly Australians feel about this".

The Gulf state's reversal of the extradition request is surprising. Only last week it issued a statement last week defending its decision to pursue Araibi after he fled while awaiting trial.

He was convicted in absentia in 2014 for damaging a police station.

But Araibi says the case is bogus and tied to his criticism of Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's ruling family.

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

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 14:45 IST