Bahrain blinks, but Hakeem al-Araibi should have never faced this ordeal

Al-Araibi was convicted to 10 years' jail for his alleged role in a 2012 police station attack

Thailand's attorney-general's office has dropped the extradition case against jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, media outlets in Australia are reporting.

In a brief statement released Monday, Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it "takes note of the halt in legal proceedings against Hakeem Al Araibi in Thailand".

Chatchom said that Al-Araibi must now be released as soon as possible.

A similar campaign was launched on behalf of Araibi by human rights groups, fellow soccer players and other activists - including the heroes who helped save a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave previous year - with the hashtag #SaveHakeem.

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.

He travelled to Bangkok for a honeymoon with his wife but was arrested on arrival on 27 November, after Bahrain obtained an Interpol arrest warrant.

Australia's prime minister has thanked Thailand for its decision to no longer seek the extradition to Bahrain of a refugee soccer player who lives in Melbourne.

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"We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request. if they don't want him, we have no reason to keep him here", he told AFP. But the agency also wrote that the "guilty verdict against Mr.al-Araibi remains in place" and that the "Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr.al-Araibi".

"Many wonderful people stepped forward to help Hakeem".

Al-Araibi was originally wanted by Bahrain over the vandalising of a police station in 2012.

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

Sounds familiar: Even a Bahrain government-ordered investigation reported deaths from torture in 2011 and said detainees were electrocuted, beaten on the soles of their feet, otherwise abused and reported being squeezed into tiny cells, sexually assaulted and other horrors.

He appeared in court last week, led into the courthouse in shackles, and was remanded in custody for another 10 weeks until April 22.

Morrison said he was "pleased" with the outcome and thanked the Thai government, as well as Australian football identity Craig Foster for his advocacy on the case. "(P) eople everywhere standing up for good, pushing back against regimes who flout global law, for human rights".

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