(SOUNDBITE) (English) CROWD, YELLING: "Welcome home Hakeem!" Hundreds of supporters welcomed refugee soccer player Hakeem Al Araibi home to Melbourne on Tuesday (February 12).
The Bahraini national had been held in a Thai prison for more than two months, after he was arrested during his honeymoon in Bangkok, at the request of Bahrain.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REFUGEE FOOTBALLER HAKEEM AL ARAIBI, SAYING: "Australia, this is my country.
I didn't citizenship yet, but my country is Australia.
I will die in Australia and I love Australia." He was released from prison on Monday (February 11).
Bahrain accuses him of crimes committed during the 2011 Arab Spring - charges he denies.
The 25 year-old fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia.
The Australian government, civil rights groups, and even FIFA itself - all lobbied for his release.
Human Rights Watch says Araibi was targeted and tortured by Bahraini authorities, because of his brother's political activities during the uprising.
Bahrain denies those allegations - and after coming under heavy diplomatic pressure, and public outrage, the Gulf state agreed to drop its bid to have him extradited.