Hakeem Al-Araibi Receives Australian Citizenship, Stresses: "No Country Can Follow Me Now"
2019-03-13 - 12:47 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): TThe Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi was granted the Australian citizenship on Tuesday.
Hakeem was among 207 people from 44 countries who were granted Australian citizen within a ceremony held in Melbourne.
"Finally, no country can follow me now because I am Australian," Al-Araibi said, moments after the ceremony.
Hakeem addressed the Bahraini authorities saying "Bahrain, please don't follow me. I am now 100% safe in this country."
"Few Australians, I guess, had to fight quite so hard to become a citizen," Foster told The Guardian newspaper.
Foster said that Hakeem told him "I love Australia." When foster asked him about the reason, Hakeem answered "Because there are laws, there are rules and they are always followed."
Al-Araibi was arrested in November on an erroneously issued Interpol red notice while honeymooning in Thailand with his wife, based on an extradition request from the Bahraini authorities. He was released following an international campaign led by Craig Foster.
Al-Araibi is back at training and is trying to regain his fitness after months away from the game.
"Now I just want to rest in my house with my family," Al-Araibi said, reiterating his hope that he would one day play A-League.
Foster expressed a similar sentiment, but emphasized that "more importantly we just want him to recover as a person".
"In the fullness of time I'm sure he'll get back to playing football," he said.
"But we have told him, we fought so hard, it's up to you, now. You're an Australian citizen. In time, you're going to be eligible to play for Australia. We want to see you pulling on the green and gold. It's very much in your court."