Hakeem Al-Araibi Thanks Australia: Support Keeps me Strong

2018-12-21 - 9:39 م

Bahrain Mirror: The Australian SBS website said that Detained Melbourne-based refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi thanked Australia for supporting him as he fears deportation from Thailand to his native Bahrain.

The semi-professional football player is being held indefinitely in Bangkok after being arrested over an incorrectly issued Interpol Red Notice last month.

In a hand-written letter sent to his soccer club in Melbourne, Pascoe Vale, Mr Al-Araibi said he loves his wife "so much" and he is "strong" because of his adopted country's support.

"Thanks Australia for help (sic) me," he wrote.

Supporters of Al-Araibi gathered outside the Australian Federal Police headquarters on Wednesday calling for his immediate release.

Following the rally, Refugee Action Collective's Chris Breen said the Australian government needed to reinvigorate its efforts in support of Mr Al-Araibi's.

"Minister Dutton has not spelt out the legal reasons he claims prevent him granting Hakeem citizenship," Mr. Breen said.

"Granting Hakeem citizenship could be an important stepping up of the advocacy of the Australian government for Hakeem's freedom."

The footballer's lawyers are demanding Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton grant him emergency Australian citizenship in hope it would increase his prospects of flying back to Victoria.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called for his immediate release and safe return to Australia, raising his case with Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai.

But it was revealed that Australia's National Interpol Bureau tipped off Thailand about Mr Al-Araibi's arrival in the country before he arrived.

Greens Senator Nick McKim says the federal government needs to do more, considering it was an "error by Australian authorities" that saw him imprisoned. "Will the government do the right thing and #SaveHakeem?" he tweeted.

Al-Araibi was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for allegedly vandalising a police station in Bahrain.

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