Tuesday, 12 February 2019 2:00PM AEDT
Hakeem al-Araibi walked back onto Australian soil on Tuesday to rapturous applause. A crowd of approximately 100 supporters and friends gathered at Melbourne Airport to welcome him. He emerged with former Socceroos captain, Craig Foster, who led a high-profile media campaign pushing for his release.
"I want to thank Australia. Australia is my home," al-Araibi said, after stepping off the plane.
"I am very proud today to be Australian. To see [Hakeem] back here on home soil speaks volumes about the values, the character and the pride we have as Australians," Foster said.
"I call on Scott [Morrison] and Marise [Payne] to commit to more humane policies for all the Hakeems who come into Australia's care."
Monday, 11 February 2019 9:00PM AEDT
Australian footballer Hakeem al-Araibi will return to Australia within the next 24 hours, after an extradition case against him in Thailand was dropped. The director-general of international affairs for the Thai Government confirmed that the Attorney-General requested the case for Mr al-Araibi's extradition to Bahrain be dropped. Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Mr al-Araibi was on his way to Bangkok Airport to board a flight home.
Hakeem al-Araibi is a professional footballer who played for the Bahrain national team. Hakeem fled to Australia in 2014 to seek political asylum. He was granted refugee status in 2016 and is a permanent resident. Now 25 years old, he lives in Melbourne with his wife and plays football for Pascoe Vale FC.
Bahrain authorities sentenced Hakeem to 10 years in prison in absentia in 2014 for allegedly participating in the vandalism of a police station in 2012. At the time of the alleged crime, Hakeem was playing in a televised football match elsewhere. Hakeem believes his sentencing is a result of a false confession forced by torture from his brother.
On November 27 2018, he left Australia for the first time for a belated honeymoon with his wife in Thailand. Upon arrival, he was detained by Thai authorities and is currently in detention facing imminent extradition to Bahrain.
Thailand picked up Hakeem because Bahrain had issued an international request for his arrest and extradition, which takes the form of an Interpol Red Notice. However, Interpol's own rules state that legitimate refugees should be exempt from Red Notices, so the Australian authorities mistakenly notified Thai authorities of Hakeem's pending trip. The Red Notice has since been withdrawn and Australian foreign minister Marise Payne has requested that Thailand return Hakeem to Australia - but Thailand has so far sided with Bahrain.
If Hakeem is returned to Bahrain, he fears he will be tortured or worse.
In response to Hakeem's detention, Professional Footballers Australia, the broader Australian football community and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and the Gulf Institute of Human Rights and Democracy have driven a campaign to have Hakeem safely returned to Australia - #SaveHakeem.
Subsequently, the Australian Government - through Marise Payne, Football Federation Australia, FIFPro and FIFA have all called for Hakeem's release and return.
The PFA and the broader community are now embarking on a mission to raise funds in support of:
- The ongoing legal costs associated with preserving Hakeem's human rights;
- Coordinating a global advocacy campaign in support of Hakeem's freedom;
- Providing ongoing support and care for Hakeem's wife who remains in Australia, separated from her husband; and
- Hakeem's care and rehabilitation once we win this fight to return him to Australia.
Join tens of thousands of people in the global community supporting the freedom of Hakeem by signing the Change.org and Amnesty International petitions on their websites.
All profit generated by the sale of this t-shirt is donated to the #SaveHakeem fundraising campaign. Wear your t-shirt, take a photo, tag Futbol Cult and use the hashtag #SaveHakeem.
Every post, tweet and voice counts!
#SaveHakeem t-shirt produced with the support of Craig Foster and John Didulica, Professional Footballers Australia
Save Hakeem T-shirt
- Regular fit
- Crew neck
- Mid-weight, 180 GSM
- 100% combed cotton
- Contrasting ribbing at neck and sleeve hems, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimise shrinkage
Men – Size Chart
Size S M L XL 2XL W 47 52 56.5 61 64 L 71 75 78.5 82 83.5
Body width/length (cm)
Women – Size Chart
Size XS S M L XL W 44.5 47 49.5 52 54.5 L 62.5 63.5 64.5 65.5 66.5
Body width/length (cm)
Please refer to Size Chart
Measure a shirt you own 1cm below sleeve joint from side seam to side seam (no refund or replacement for incorrect size choice)
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