Hakeem al-Araibi set to be freed by Thai authorities

Wanderers Thai Airways

Chatchom Akapin, the department's director of worldwide affairs, said the decision was made under Section 21 of the Prosecution Act which allows for cases to be dropped if they are not in the public interest.

ABC's Juanita Phillips tweeted that the footballer was flying back to Australia on Monday night.

But Araibi says the case is bogus and tied to his criticism of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's ruling family.

Mr Araibi's supporters said he should be freed and is protected under his status as a refugee with Australian residency.

"My thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to the Thai government for upholding worldwide law", former Australia soccer captain Craig Foster, who helped lobby officials at world governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association to intervene on Araibi's behalf, said on social network Twitter after the news.

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Al-Araibi, 25, a former Bahrain national team player, has said he fled his home country due to political repression.

Al-Araibi was arrested and detained last November, while on his honeymoon in Thailand at the request of the Bahraini government. He said he believed he was targeted for arrest because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active in Bahrain. Bahrain has a Shiite majority but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the London-based campaign group the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said: "This is a huge victory for the human rights movement in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia, and even the whole world".

The Bangkok court previously set an April 22 date for the next hearing.

"Thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to Thai Government for upholding global law", Foster said.

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