Australia

'A huge victory for human rights movement'

The news that Hakeem al-Araibi had been released from a Thai prison and was returning to Australia sparked joy among the many people who had fought for him.

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT HAKEEM AL-ARAIBI'S RELEASE:

* Prime Minister Scott Morrison:

"We are very grateful for the relationship we have with the Thai government that has enabled us to work through these issues in the way that we have.

"These issues are complex and our relationship with the Thai government, and in particular the Prime Minister Prayut (Chan-o-cha), is very strong, and we thank them for the way that they have engaged with us on this matter.

"We greatly appreciate their listening to the issues that have been raised by our government and many others who have raised this case."

* Ex-Socceroos captain Craig Foster on Twitter:

"Most important thing now is Hakeem's immediate wellbeing. Sure embassy staff will take care of him, there'll be tears there tonight as there are in our household right now."

"Many wonderful people stepped forward to help Hakeem. I can't list them but will thank each of them in time. My thoughts are with Hakeem's wife. Her nightmare will shortly be at an end."

* Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei from the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy:

"This is a huge victory for the human rights movement in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia - and even the whole world."

"Hakeem's ordeal ended after 70 days when there was a clear public stance and solidarity movement. The football community, the human rights movement and all of those who dedicated their time and efforts to end this injustice were rewarded."

"While we note this victory, me must also pay tribute to all imprisoned people and torture victims in Bahrain's prisons, and should continue to work to secure their freedom as well."

* Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten:

"We thank the government and people of Thailand for their understanding and compassion."

* Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou:

"The football family looks forward to welcoming Hakeem home and providing him with ongoing support after such a difficult period."

* Professional Footballers Australia Chief Executive John Didulica:

"The football community, mobilised and inspired, showcased its most admirable qualities to the world; a sport, a community and a nation united to fight in the name of decency and altruism is a force to behold."

* Pascoe Vale Football Club president Lou Tona:

"It's been an unbelievable ground swell of support. Great to see humanity alive and well. At times we can forget about these things."

* ACTU President Michele O'Neil:

"The true heroes of this were ordinary people - football fans, players and union members - led by an extraordinary Australian, Craig Foster."

* Amnesty International Australia national director Claire Mallinson:

"Hakeem's plight and the overwhelming support he received has received shows that the Australian public stand up for justice and for what is right."

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