A refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia boarded a plane in Thailand early on Tuesday that would fly directly to Melbourne, where he has lived since 2014 and plays for a local football club.
"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 statement. Al-Araibi's case attracted supporters from around the world, including Australian broadcaster and former soccer star Craig Foster.
The 25-year-old footballer was detained for two months while awaiting an extradition trial to return him to his home country where he is accused of arson, a charge he denies.
"I am famous now in Australia.I see the people, I see the shirts "Save Hakeem", this was a big surprise for me", he said.
Keralite woman among 17 killed in Delhi hotel blaze
All norms were followed here. "A licence is issued only after inspection". "Mishappening can occur in a house as well", he added. The fire-fighting operation carried by more than 100 personnel of Delhi's fire department lasted around four hours.
"I will be more strong for my country. I love Australia", al-Araibi said.
He was released yesterday after Bahrain requested the case be dropped.
"Finally this nightmare has ended, I am very happy to see everyone happy with me at this moment, thank you all for my support and I would like to say thank you Australia", she said.
"It's wonderful to see all of the people here and all of the Australian people and all of the media who supported me".