Bahrain says it could still pursue refugee

Bahrain says it could still pursue refugee

"If they don't want him, we have no reason to keep him here", Mr Chatchom Akapin, director general of the International Affairs Department told AFP, adding the process is underway to release Mr Araibi.

"As soon as our son reach (sic) Australia, we call upon the Bahraini authorities, which unlawfully treats Hakeem as a criminal despite his innocence, to drop all the fabricated charges, repeal the court's unfair verdict, acquit and apologise for the physical and psychological repercussion it inflicted upon Hakeem", his family said.

He also believes he was targeted for arrest because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain.

A report commissioned by Bahrain's own monarch in 2011 found authorities engaged in "a systematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which in many cases amounted to torture, with respect to a large number of detainees in their custody".

"This is a win for humanity, for the power of the citizen of the world demanding that human rights be protected, a step forward for Thailand, a challenge for Australia and the beginning of a broader fight for the values of sport", Foster said via his Facebook account.

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. I can't list them, but will thank each of them in time.

Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei, from the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said the decision was a huge victory for the human rights movement in Bahrain and the rest of the world. He was granted asylum there in 2017 and has maintained that he would be tortured or worse if he were to return to Bahrain.

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

A Reuters witness said Araibi was seen leaving the Bangkok remand prison in a auto and immigration officials said he was heading for the main global airport in the Thai capital. "My life is in danger".

Thailand had come under great pressure from Australia's government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send al-Araibi back to Australia and not to Bahrain, where he is supposed to serve a prison sentence he says was politically motivated.

Australia has remained al-Araibi's staunch defender, decrying the legal basis for his arrest and pursuing his release. The Australian Government was not initially aware of this, and in line with Interpol procedure notified Thailand of Mr Alaraibi's travel.

"Australia is reviewing our procedures so that this does not happen again", the Embassy said. On Monday, they celebrated news of his release.

Support for the young footballer's release was galvanised by former Socceroo Craig Foster with FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, and high-profile players calling for Thailand to free him. "It is a commitment enshrined in our human rights policy", he said.

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