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

Bill Shorten wants to meet with the detained man's wife

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.

Al-Araibi has refugee status in Australia.

Nadthasiri Bergman, Mr Araibi's lawyer, said the court had given her 60 days to submit the defence's case.

"There are no grounds to hold him anymore".

"We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request". Bahrain authorities did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters seeking comment.

He said Federation Internationale de Football Association has not discussed imposing sanctions on either Bahrain or Thailand over the case.

Читайте также: Gaga wins Grammy for 'Shallow'; Hugh Jackman wins 1st Grammy

As the movement to free Al-Araibi grows stronger, the Wanderers and Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels were criticised for their sponsorship with Thai Airways - Thailand's national carrier.

The 25-year-old fears being returned to Bahrain where he believes he could face imprisonment and torture.

Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster has built a global coalition of sporting bodies and stars - from both within football and the wider sports community - to call for Hakeem's release and pressure Thailand to return him to Australia.

Monday's development follows an appeal, reported by media on Saturday, to the Thai prime minister from two Australian divers who helped save 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave.

He was convicted of vandalizing a police station during 2011 anti-government protests in Bahrain and sentenced in absentia after he fled. He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated.

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