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Thailand to Free Refugee Bahraini Soccer Player Hakeem al-Araibi

The refugee Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi is set to be freed by Thai authorities after Bahrain withdrew an extradition case against him. The Guardian reports the Bahraini government decided to end its pursuit of the soccer player who fled the country in 2014, leading to Thailand withdrawing its extradition case. He was arrested on arrival at a Bangkok airport—where he arrived with his wife on Nov. 27 for their honeymoon—after Bahrain obtained an Interpol red-notice arrest warrant against him. Araibi fled the country after a crackdown on pro-democracy athletes—he was later sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail over an alleged act of vandalism that he says he couldn’t have committed because he was playing soccer in a match that was broadcast live. Bahrain appears to have backed down after a mounting international scandal. He’s expected to board a flight to Australia—where he was granted permanent residence in 2014—on Monday evening.