The Australian authorities granted, on Monday (March 11, 2019), citizenship to the Bahraini refugee football player Hakeem Al-Araibi.
Hakeem was among 207 people from 44 countries who were granted Australian.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne attended the ceremony held on this occasion and welcomed the former captain of Australian national team Craig Foster who also attended the ceremony.
Al-Araibi, A refugee in Australia, was arrested for over two months in the Thai Capital, Bangkok, which attempted to deport him to Bahrain that demanded his extradition in order to imprison him for 10 years. However, an international campaign led by Craig Foster, strong interference form the Australian authorities and support of number of international sports figures and human rights organizations led to returning him to Australia which welcomed him. Upon his return, Al-Araibi met the Prime Minister in his office accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He also met a number of political and human rights figures in Australia.
Former Al-Wefaq MP Ali Al-Aswad congratulated Al-Araiba via his Twitter account saying: “Congratulations to the FIFA player Hakeem Al-Araibi on the Australian citizenship as it was expected from a state which protects refugees on its territories from their homeland which arrests, tortures and kills who demand freedom, democracy and social justice. Once again, thanks to all the sincere efforts which returned Al-Araibi to his family and beloved ones in Australia.”
For his part, president of Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights Yahya Al-Hadid greeted everyone who supported Hakeem’s cases and thanked the Australian people.
He said “Hakeem Al-Araibi remains Bahraini and belongs to his nation. He is proud of his people who supported him as he is also proud of receiving the Australian citizenship. Hakeem is now an Australian citizen who respects the Australian values, pluralism and diversity in this civilized society, which respects man and human values without any discrimination or racism.”