Hakeem Ali Mohamed AlAraibi is a former player in Bahrain’s national soccer team. He fled Bahrain in 2014 and sought asylum in Australia due to freedoms’ repression in his home country. On 27 November 2018, Hakeem was travelling to Bangkok, upon his arrival in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, he was detained. He was informed that the reason for his detention was in conformity with an Interpol red notice against him, issued upon request of Bahrain. GIDHR fears that Hakeem will face imprisonment and torture if he is deported to Bahrain.
In 2016, during the candidacy for FIFA presidency, AlAraibi has been very critical of the current president of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman AlKhalifa. He conducted interviews with media outlets, including the New York Times, the Guardian, and ITV, and discussed details of the torture he suffered while being detained in 2012 in Bahrain.
Hakeem has said he was blindfolded and had his legs beaten while he was held in Bahrain. He said he was threatened to destroy his professional future.
On 5 January 2014, AlAraibi was sentenced to 10 years in prison over a fabricated charge which he denied and provided evidences of him participating in a match that was televised live when the alleged crime occurred. However, when his family reached out to the Bahraini soccer association to confirm his alibi, their requests went unanswered.
Hakeem was granted Australian Protection Visa, and is recognized as a refugee in Australia. Interpol’s Red Notice violates the international police organization’s policy that the notices will not be issued “if the status of refugee or asylum-seeking has been confirmed.”
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) calls upon the Government of Australia, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, and Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection to take serious and urgent actions and press on the Thai authorities to release Hakeem and allow him to get back to Australia where he is protected.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights
29 November 2018