Back in the arms of his wife in his beloved adoptive Australian home, refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is ready to forget his two months in a Thai jail.
The 25-year-old on Tuesday touched down in Melbourne to much fanfare, wearing a Pascoe Vale Football Club top, and filled with praise for Australia.
"I will be more strong for this country," al-Araibi said in broken English.
"I will be strong here, just for Australia. And Australia, this is my country.
"I don't have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia. I will die in Australia and I love Australia. Thank you very much."
The soccer player thanked the Australian government, media and his supporters for their backing, before being ushered through the crowd to meet with his wife whom he hasn't seen since November.
The couple travelled to Bangkok on their honeymoon when al-Araibi was arrested at the request of his birth country Bahrain, seeking his extradition.
He was wanted after fleeing the country when charged with vandalising a police station in 2012 and sentenced to 10 years in jail in absentia.
Al-Araibi denied the crime.
His detention attracted high-profile global attention, raised diplomatic tensions and generated repeated requests for his release from the Australian government, international human rights groups, sporting bodies and the public.
Those calls were answered when Bahrain on Monday requested the case be dropped.
But Bahrain's Foreign Ministry said al-Araibi's 10-year jail sentence remained in place and reaffirmed the country's right to "pursue all necessary legal actions against him".
Even if a future extradition request comes from Bahrain, Australia is unlikely to agree.
And federal police will look at how Bahrain was tipped off that al-Araibi was travelling to Thailand before his trip, allowing the country to wrongly issue an Interpol red notice.
Despite ongoing questions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison thanked Thailand for releasing al-Araibi.
"We know all Australians will deeply appreciate the decision, allowing him to return to his wife, family and friends," Mr Morrison said in a joint statement.
"The outpouring of support ... is a testament to how deeply Mr al-Araibi's situation touched Australians."
Al-Araibi's wife issued a short statement before being reunited with her new husband.
"My heart is now full with gratitude. Just so thankful that these tears are falling out of relief and joy."
There's a chance the valuable defender could get a run during Thursday's game between Pascoe Vale and Heidelberg United, with al-Araibi quick to tell former Socceroo captain Craig Foster he had stayed fit while locked up.
"He said 'I am in good condition' and he wants to go and play.
"He said 'I feel strong Craig, I feel strong. I have been training in prison'."
The former Bahraini national team player, has been described as quiet and unassuming by teammates.
Australian Associated Press