Soccer star Hakeem al-Araibi to return to Australia

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

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

Craig Foster, a former Australian soccer global who led the campaign to free al-Araibi, expressed his "deepest gratitude" on Twitter. "They all deserve to be in front of camera now, not only me".

It was not immediately clear what prompted Bahrain to withdraw its request.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had also repeatedly pushed for his release, saying that he had written letters to his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-O-Cha and stressed "how strongly" Australians feel about Araibi's case.

Al-Araibi was arrested on 27 November on an erroneously issued Interpol red notice, which should never have been granted to Bahrain under clear Interpol policies created to protect refugees from refoulement.

"I prayed and prayed that he would come back to me, and finally our nightmare is ending", she said.

The player fled Bahrain in 2014 and now plays for semi-professional Melbourne-based club Pascoe Vale.

"If they don't want him, we have no reason to keep him here", Mr Chatchom Akapin, director general of the International Affairs Department told AFP, adding the process is underway to release Mr Araibi.

Al-Araibi was originally arrested in 2012.

Major League Baseball hoping to invigorate the sport with rule changes
The major leagues have had disabled lists of 10 and 60 days, plus a seven-day list only for players with concussions. ESPN said the change, which is effective immediately, came at the urging of disability advocacy groups.

A prominent Bahraini soccer player who had been facing a decade behind bars in his home country on disputed arson charges, was released from a Bangkok prison Monday after extradition charges against him were dropped.

Al-Araibi was sentenced to 10 years in jail in absentia for what has become a widely discredited vandalism conviction.

Pressure had been intensifying on both the Bahraini and Thai governments to drop the extradition case, especially after videos of Araibi walking in shackles were circulated on social media.

Refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi touched down in Melbourne on Tuesday after spending more than two months in a Bangkok prison. He was detained at the request of Bahrain relayed through Interpol upon his arrival in Bangkok in November while on honeymoon with his wife. The Shiite Muslim said he was targeted for his faith and because he had run afoul of Bahrain's ruling Sunni family owing to his brother's political activism.

Al-Araibi has said he was blindfolded and had his legs beaten when he was held in Bahrain previously.

The 25-year-old was seen chatting happily before boarding the flight that was due to leave shortly after midnight, Reuters reported.

He had faced at least another two months in jail after a court in Bangkok last week set down his pre-trial extradition hearing for April 22.

In a news release on Monday, Bahrain's state news agency said the country's Foreign Ministry took "note of the halt in legal proceedings" to have him extradited. Bilateral ties dived to a point where even Australia's sporting organisations boycotted Thailand, including cancelling a football friendly scheduled to be held here in March, in protest over the detention. "It is a commitment enshrined in our human rights policy", he said. "These tears are falling out of relief and joy", she said.

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