Fugitive Bahraini footballer to walk free after Bahrain drops extradition request

Fugitive Bahraini footballer to walk free after Bahrain drops extradition request

Fugitive Bahraini footballer to walk free after Bahrain drops extradition request

"This morning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed us that Bahrain was no longer interested in this request", OAG foreign office chief Chatchom Akapin said.

Prosecutors made the decision after Thailand's foreign ministry sent a letter on Monday morning indicating that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for Al-Araibi, Chatchom Akapin, director general of the attorney general office's worldwide affairs department, said.

Bahrain's Foreign Ministry said in a statement after his release that the "guilty verdict against Mr.al-Araibi remains in place and Mr.al-Araibi holds the right to appeal this court verdict at Bahrain's Court of Appeal".

FILE PHOTO: Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi leaves Thailand's Criminal Court, in Bangkok, Thailand February 4, 2019. He says he faces torture if returned to Bahrain.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has said Araibi was tortured by Bahraini authorities because of his brother's political activities during the 2011 protests.

In the Australian capital of Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the decision of the Thai government.

Supporters attend a rally in Melbourne this month seeking Hakeem Al-Araibi's release.

Al-Araibi was originally wanted by Bahrain over the vandalising of a police station in 2012.

More news: Arizona Cardinals: The goal is now Super Bowl 54

Australian police acknowledge doing so, but there have been questions raised about why the Red Notice appeared to have been issued just before al-Araibi departed on his trip, and whether Bahraini authorities had been tipped off about his travel plans.

He was detained in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice requested by Bahrain. "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me".

The Bangkok court previously set an April 22 date for the next hearing.

Morrison said: "Now the next step is for him to return home".

A court filing from Thai prosecutors had noted that while Thailand and Bahrain do not have an extradition treaty, extradition is still possible by law if Bahrain makes an official request - which it did - and if the crime is punishable by more than a year's imprisonment and is not politically motivated or a military violation.

The Australian government, Fifa and other football bodies have also supported his case.

In his comments Monday, he said he appreciated the work of all involved in securing al-Araibi's release. Rights groups said the case is part of a broader crackdown on dissidents.

Related news