Hakeem al-Araibi: Thailand to free refugee footballer

Wanderers Thai Airways

That is partly because al-Araibi says he was tortured in custody before he fled Bahrain, telling The New York Times in 2016 that an officer "beat my legs really hard, saying: 'You will not play soccer again".

The extradition case against refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi has been dropped and he will be flying home soon, the Thai attorney-general's office has confirmed.

Mr Al-Araibi had been held at the Bangkok Remand Prison for two months after Bahrain said it would proceed with the extradition. He was reportedly in Thailand on a honeymoon with his wife.

Since then, he has been detained in a Bangkok prison pending a court ruling over the extradition request from the Bahraini government - a move the footballer has pleaded against as he fears torture if returned.

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.

"We had a phone call from the Foreign Affairs Ministry this morning and they said Bahrain doesn't want him anymore", Chatchom said.

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

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Federico Addiechi, a representative of Fifa, football's world governing body, attended a Feb 4 hearing and said the organisation would continue to support Mr Araibi.

On Monday evening, Foster tweeted his thanks to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Government.

The Gulf state's reversal of the extradition request is surprising.

Refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi in Bangkok.

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

Officials in Bahrain, an island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that's home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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