Australia welcomes release of soccer player

Bill Shorten wants to meet with the detained man's wife

A Thai court ordered the release of refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi on Monday after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain.

The director-general of global affairs for the Thai Government confirmed to the ABC that the Attorney-General requested the case for Mr al-Araibi's extradition to Bahrain be dropped.

Mr Araibi was granted refugee status in Australia after fleeing charges in Bahrain connected to Arab Spring protests but was stopped in Thailand in November attempting to go on his honeymoon.

Former Socceroos captain and SBS chief football analyst Craig Foster voiced his support for Al-Araibi throughout his time in prison and took to Twitter to thank the Thai Government.

Before the soccer player's release, Thailand's Foreign Ministry last week released a defensive statement in which it claimed that Thai authorities "would not have become involved in the issue had we not received the red notice alert from the Australian Interpol and the subsequent formal request by Bahrain for his arrest and extradition".

Al-Araibi plays for Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne.

"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.

"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.

Bahrain has denied allegations of torture and said Mr Araibi is a fugitive who should be returned.

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"Many wonderful people stepped forward to help Hakeem".

Officials in Bahrain did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

On Monday, prosecutors submitted to court a request to withdraw the case to extradite Al-Araibi to Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison sentence for an arson attack that damaged a police station.

"They blindfolded me", he told the Times in 2016.

Alqunun fled her family to Bangkok while on holiday in Kuwait but was detained by authorities shortly after arrival.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported Sunday that Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa had a phone call with Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, but offered no specifics on their discussions.

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.

"Fifa is committed to protecting human rights".

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