'This is a win for humanity' - Craig Foster praises successful effort to save Hakeem al-Araibi

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The ex-green and gold skipper commended efforts to free the Bahraini refugee

Craig Foster has described the release of Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thailand prison as 'a win for humanity' with the refugee set to arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Former Socceroos captain Foster led the campaign to free al-Araibi , who had been detained in a Bangkok jail since late November after Interpol flagged a red notice for his arrest.

Thai authorities successfully submitted a court request on Monday to withdraw the case to extradite al-Arabi to his country of birth Bahrain, who wanted him to serve 10 years in prison for vandalism charges he denies.

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"This is a win for humanity, for the power of the citizen of the world demanding that human rights be protected, a step forward for Thailand, a challenge for Australia and the beginning of a broader fight for the values of sport," Foster said via his Facebook account .

"If the people of the world decide tomorrow that it will not be so, that we value human life above unjust laws, retribution and royal edicts, who is to stop us after all?

"We fought for one soul because Hakeem represented everyone who suffers under tyranny, and through him, we hope to build a better world. One person at a time."

Al-Araibi is expected to touch down at Melbourne Airport around 1pm (AEDT) on Tuesday to a huge public reception led by Foster and the refugee's football team Pascoe Vale.

He was arrested by Thai authorities on November 27 last year on an Interpol notice that was distributed against the organisation's own policies to not flag against refugees from the country they have fled.

Bahrain was keen to extradite al-Araibi to serve a decade-long jail term for allegedly vandalising a police station - a crime the refugee says he did not commit as he was playing in a televised football match when the offence occurred.

al-Araibi alleges he was tortured by Bahraini authorities to obtain a confession for the crime - for which his brother is still currently in prison.

He fled Bahrain while playing for the national team in Qatar in 2013 before making his way to Australia via Iran, Malaysia and Thailand, and seeking asylum in 2014.

The 25-year-old was officially granted Australian refugee status in 2017.

 

 

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