Hakeem Al-Araibi arrives in Australia after Bahrain extradition case dropped

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Craig Foster, left, and Hakeem Al-Araibi at Melbourne Airport, Australia, on Tuesday.

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On Tuesday morning local time, the 25-year-old arrived at Melbourne Airport, where he was met by former Australian national football team captain Craig Foster, who had spearheaded an international campaign for his release.

“This is a win for humanity, for the power of citizens of the world demanding that human rights be protected,” Foster said in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the Thai government’s decision to release Al-Araibi on Monday, after Bahrain dropped its extradition request in a shock move.

“We know all Australians will deeply appreciate the decision, allowing him to return to his wife, family and friends,” he said in a statement.

Hakeem Al-Araibi walks free after Bahrain drops extradition request

Bahrain national Al-Araibi was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on November 27, after arriving in the Southeast Asian country for a vacation with his wife.

An international warrant had been issued for his arrest, despite the fact red notice requests are not meant to apply to refugees.

In 2014, Al-Araibi was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for a vandalism charge in Bahrain. The footballer fled to Australia, where he was granted refugee status in 2017. He now plays for semi-professional Melbourne-based club Pascoe Vale.

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