Dissident Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi, photographed Feb.4 as he left court in Bangkok, was released a week later after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain.
Chatchom Akapin, director-general of the Attorney General's International Affairs Department, said the Foreign Ministry had told his office yesterday morning that Bahrain wanted to withdraw the extradition request.
However, Bahrain's foreign ministry said the government will be maintaining the criminal conviction against him and the possibility of pursuing further legal action. Thailand and Bahrain do not have a formal extradition treaty but an extradition has been possible in the past "in the spirit of reciprocation and cooperation". He believed he was targeted because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain, which has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. "The Bahraini authorities have demonstrated a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to free media, independent political thought, and peaceful dissent", Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted as saying in January.
"As prime minister, I'm pleased Hakeem is coming home, and I'll be pleased to see him at home when that occurs", Morrison said.
Hakeem al-Araibi's family has thanked the worldwide community for securing his release from potential extradition to Bahrain, a country he fled after he was imprisoned and tortured.
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Al-Araibi's ordeal shone a light on the human rights violations committed against athletes around the world, Foster said. However, the 10-year jail sentence on al-Araibi remained in place.
Australia has acknowledged it notified Thai authorities about Araibi's travel, but vehemently rejected claims that it issued the initial red notice. "My life is in danger".
Al-Araibi was arrested on 27 November on an erroneously issued Interpol red notice, which should never have been granted to Bahrain under clear Interpol policies created to protect refugees from refoulement. "I love Australia", he said.
The 25-year-old fled his homeland in 2014 before being granted permanent residence in Australia, where he is on the books of semi-professional club Pascoe Vale. There was no equivalent of the #SaveHakeem campaign now catching on online when, for example, Thailand turned over a planeload of asylum-seekers to China in 2015, flown back with their heads covered in black hoods and flanked by masked Chinese security agents.
"Our special thanks to the Australian football community and Hakeem's colleagues; particularly to the former Australia global footballer Craig Foster, who has honestly put nothing before this appalling case and has never lost any chance but to save Hakeem".
Foster included a new hashtag: #Hakeemhome.