"Fighting for Hakeem": New Book by Craig Foster on how Activists Won in Face of Two Monarchies, Military Councils & World's Top Sports Organizations

2019-11-04 - 6:51 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Former Socceroo Craig Foster launched his new book "Fighting for Hakeem" revealing the inner workings of the campaign to free the young footballer, Hakeem Al-Araibi, who was detained for 76 days in a Thai prison thanks to the "systemic failure of Australian Government agencies", as Amnesty described.

The book, issued by Hachette publishing house, reveals how a local soccer legend fought tirelessly to help bring home a man he'd never met. From Pascoe Vale to Switzerland, Canberra to Thailand, Foster raised his voice and tens of thousands of Australians were galvanized to free Hakeem. Foster lobbied FIFA and the United Nations and worked with human rights organizations worldwide to enable Hakeem's safe return to his wife in Australia.

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"This book is about a fight for just one young man. But the fight goes on for all vulnerable people in need of our compassion and for the world to see refugees as equal, worthy of our care and of humane treatment. Thank you to all of you who showed that we can make a difference," Foster said in a tweet.



Journalists call Craig's work pretty much a master class on building a global movement. Craig details how diplomatic pressure from multiple organizations led to Hakeem being returned, including advocacy by FIFA, Amnesty International, lawyers, and 150,000 letters written by citizens to the relevant global bodies.

Craig acknowledges that it had to "go further than what people were comfortable with" and that there was "blowback", but he's now incredibly thankful for the concerted effort and achievement.

Foster worked closely with Amnesty International Australia and a coalition of other sporting and human rights organizations to ensure Hakeem's situation gained widespread media attention and lobbied the Australian Government to intervene to return him to Australia.

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Australian Federal Police chief Reece Kershaw recently apologized to Hakeem and his family for the errors that led to his arrest and detention in Thailand, and Amnesty has urged the Department of Home Affairs to launch an inquiry into the failures that resulted in Hakeem's arrest.

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