Thai court orders release of Bahrain refugee soccer player

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

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.

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

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Bahrain footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is brought to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Feb 4 for an extradition request from Bahrain.

He was later sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail over an act of vandalism he maintains he could not have committed because he was playing in a televised football match. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. "He is at grave risk of unjust imprisonment, torture and other ill-treatment if he is returned to Bahrain".

Former Socceroo Craig Foster tweeted, "thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to Thai Government for upholding global law". Thai officials had said a trial could be lengthy, depending on how many witnesses are called by each side.

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"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.

"Fifa is committed to protecting human rights".

Chatchom added that the process to release Araibi is under way.

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She said she requested his release on bail but it was denied because the court deemed him a flight risk.

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