Hong Kong - Asia's football body on Tuesday said it had worked "tirelessly" to
secure the release of Bahraini refugee player Hakeem al-Araibi after
coming under fire over the case.
The Asian Football Confederation said it was "extremely pleased" with
Araibi's return to Australia after he was detained for more than two
months in Thailand as he fought extradition to Bahrain.
"The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is extremely pleased with the
decision of the courts in Thailand to order the release of Hakeem
al-Araibi and allow him to return to Australia," the AFC said in a short
"The AFC has been working tirelessly with all the relevant
stakeholders for several months and we thank each and everyone of those
bodies for their support and commitment in bringing this matter to a
The AFC had been criticised for remaining quiet about Araibi, who was
detained after arriving in Thailand for a holiday and feared torture
and even death if he was sent back to Bahrain.
Araibi, who was sentenced in absentia in a case linked to
anti-government protests in Bahrain, claimed he was being targeted for
political reasons following his criticism of AFC president Sheikh Salman
bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's ruling family.
The AFC's first public statement on Araibi came two months after his
arrest, and said it was seeking a "solution" to the case rather than
calling for his release.