The Latest: Bahrain says it could still pursue refugee

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, file photo, refugee soccer player Bahraini Hakeem al-Araibi leaves the criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand. A Thai court on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, has ordered the release of al-Araibi after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

BANGKOK — The Latest on the release of Bahraini soccer player with refugee status in Australia who was released from Thai detention after extradition request was withdrawn (all times local):

5:55 p.m.

Bahrain says that it "reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against" a soccer player who has been granted refugee status in Australia.

The statement from Bahrain's Foreign Ministry comes after Thai prosecutors on Monday dropped a case against Hakeem al-Araibi, who then left jail and was on his way to the airport to return to Australia.

Bahrain's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the "guilty verdict against Mr. al-Araibi remains in place and Mr. al-Araibi holds the right to appeal this court verdict at Bahrain's Court of Appeal."

Bahrain did not elaborate.

Al-Araibi faces a 10-year prison sentence for an arson attack that damaged a police station. He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated.

___

5:35 p.m.

Australia's prime minister has thanked Thailand for its decision to no longer seek the extradition to Bahrain of a refugee soccer player who lives in Melbourne.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Monday that Hakeem al-Araibi had left jail and was on his way to the airport.

Morrison said: "Now the next step is for him to return home. But as is always in these cases, people aren't home until they're home."

In addition to thanking Thailand, Morrison said Australians "greatly appreciate their listening to the issues that have been raised by our government and many others who have raised this case."

Thailand had come under great pressure from Australia's government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send al-Araibi back to Australia and not to Bahrain, where he is supposed to serve a prison sentence he says was politically motivated.

___

3:40 p.m.

A Thai court has ordered the release of a refugee soccer player after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain.

Court spokesman Suriyan Hongvilai said Monday that Hakeem al-Araibi was now being processed for release.

The director general of the attorney general office's international affairs department said prosecutors on Monday submitted to court a request to withdraw the case to extradite al-Araibi to Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison sentence for an arson attack that damaged a police station. He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated.

The director general, Chatchom Akapin, said they made the decision after Thailand's foreign ministry sent his department a letter Monday morning that indicated that Bahrain had withdrawn its request for al-Araibi.

Must Read

Pavlyuchenkova, Gavrilova advance to Hong Kong semis

Oct 13, 2017

The highest ranked player left in the Hong Kong Open, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia has beaten...

Nadal, Federer advance to Shanghai final for 38th encounter

Oct 14, 2017

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will face each for the 38th time after advancing to the Shanghai...

Fortunes can change quickly in the world of golf

Oct 25, 2017

Johnson, Matsuyama, Rahm lead the field at HSBC Champions in final World Golf Championship of the...

Ormsby wins, Cabrera Bello runner-up again in Hong Kong

Nov 26, 2017

Australia's Wade Ormsby won the 2017 Hong Kong Open, Sunday in dramatic fashion to give him his...

Vettel takes pole in China, and Ferrari looks like it's back

Apr 14, 2018

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will be on pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix as he looks...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com