Hakeem Al-Araibi Freed And Coming Home After Thai Court Drops Extradition Case
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.
Al-Araibi has been in a Bangkok jail since November, after being arrested while on honeymoon due to an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.
Thailand's attorney general's office has dropped the extradition case against the jailed footballer who plays for Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne and has refugee status in Australia, a prosecution source said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Monday night that, as of 9pm, al-Araibi had been freed from prison and was on his way to the airport to travel back to Australia.
Morrison said he was "pleased" with the outcome and thanked the Thai government, as well as Australian football identity Craig Foster for his advocacy on the case.
Foreign minister Marise Payne said there were still "a number of steps to go in this process" but said al-Araibi would hopefully be back in Australia in the next day or so. She said "a great deal" of work had gone on behind the scenes.
Speaking to SBS, Foster called it "a win for people power... a win for standing up against regimes".
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.
Foster praised the news on Monday night, sending thanks to the Thai government and supporters of the #saveHakeem campaign.
A journalist from the BBC said negotiations between Thailand and Bahrain led to the agreement to drop the extradition request.