Soccer community demands action to bring Hakeem al-Araibi home

Australia’s soccer community is demanding the federal government step up its fight to bring home a Melbourne-based refugee footballer as fears for his safety grow.

Hakeem al-Araibi, who was granted refugee status by Australia after he fled Bahrain, is being held in a Thai detention centre following an incorrectly-issued Interpol red notice flagging his arrival in Thailand.

Hakeem al-Araibi waits to be transferred to a Thai jail.
Hakeem al-Araibi waits to be transferred to a Thai jail. CREDIT:AP

Araibi’s supporters say the Pascoe Vale Football Club defender has a “very real chance” of being extradited to Bahrain, where he faces imprisonment and torture after being convicted in absentia for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Members of Professional Footballers Australia, Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, Amnesty Australia, and former Socceroos captain Craig Foster and player Rodrigo Vargas, on Saturday called for Foreign Minister Marise Payne to visit Araibi, and for the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to expedite his citizenship approval.