Western Sydney Wanderers support Hakeem Al-Araibi by hiding Thai Airways sponsorship

Detained Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al Araibi arrives at the criminal court in Bangkok Thailand

Detained Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al Araibi arrives at the criminal court in Bangkok

Hakeem Al-Araibi, the refugee footballer detained in Thailand, will be freed from prison after Bahrain Monday made the shock decision to drop its extradition case.

Mr Al-Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014 before being granted permanent residence in Australia, was arrested while on honeymoon in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.

A Bahraini court sentenced him in absentia to 10 years in prison over claims by Bahraini authorities that he and a group of protesters attacked a police station with petrol bombs during the Arab Spring uprising.

Western Sydney Wanderers have thrown their support behind detained refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi by removing a Thai Airways sponsorship board from their stadium.

The Guardian has been told by Gulf democracy advocates and al-Araibi's Thai lawyer that the Thai government has pulled the extradition case out of the courts.

"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. He has been living in Melbourne, where he plays for a semi-professional soccer team.

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