Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi freed by Thailand
The player was arrested in Thailand after travelling to the country on his honeymoon
A Thai court has ordered the release of a football player arrested whilst on his honeymoon. Al-Araibi, an Australian refugee who plays for Melbourne team Pascoe Vale, was detained in Thailand in November where he was remained since.
He has now been freed after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain meaning he is now free to return to Australia, where he was granted political asylum in 2017.
The player was arrested at the request of Bahrain, who wanted its former national team player to return to serve a 10-year prison sentence after he was accused of vandalising a police station.
Al-Araibi has maintained his innocence in response to the accusation, insisting he fled Bahrain in 2014 due to political repression. He has stated that he fears torture if he returns and was arrested after Interpol issued a "red notice" seeking his arrest at the request of the Bahrain government but such notices are not supposed to be given to refugees.
His detention provoked widespread international support in his favour demanding his release. Labour MP Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan spoke to Politics JOE and called on FIFA to defend the imprisoned footballer.
"He was playing football live on TV at the time he is accused of committing a crime."
Labour MP @DrRosena calls on FIFA to stand up for the wrongly imprisoned footballer Hakeem al-Araibi who faces torture in Bahrain. pic.twitter.com/zDv1sQIYPY
— JOE Politics (@PoliticsJOE_UK) February 8, 2019