The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), which represents second tier clubs in every state in Australia, has urged its member clubs to show their support for Hakeem Al-Araibi through a crowdfunding campaign.
The crowdfunding campaign is called 'Hakeem's Honeymoon' on the basis that Hakeem Al-Araibi travelled to Bangkok with his wife in November for their honeymoon, but instead he was detained by Thai authorities at the request of the Bahrain Government.
"Like everyone in the football community in Australia, we want to see Hakeem Al-Araibi returned safely home to Australia," said AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem.
"Australia is his home now. Australia has given him refugee status, and he should be protected as such under international law. He does not belong in Bahrain and Thailand has no reason to send him there.
"We call on the Thai Government to fulfil their obligations and send him home to Australia."
Mr Al-Araibi is a former Bahrain national team football player who fled Bahrain after incarceration and persecution arising from the 'Arab Spring' protests. He was granted refugee status by Australia in 2017. He plays with one of AAFC's member clubs, Pascoe Vale, in Melbourne, and is also in full-time employment.
"The crowdfunding campaign we've started is because Hakeem Al-Araibi was on his honeymoon when he was detained at Bangkok Airport. His wife was sent home to Melbourne, and they have not had their honeymoon.
"When he is allowed out of jail, and put on a flight back home to Australia, we would like them to have the honeymoon they didn't get to have so that is why we're seeking support from members of the football community, or anyone for that matter."
Krayem said AAFC has written to their member clubs urging them to show their support for Mr Al-Araibi by sharing a photo of their club players and officials on social media using the #SaveHakeem hashtag. Krayem said he expects all parts of the football community to show their support for #SaveHakeem, including the state member federations.
AAFC has also written to the Thai Government urging them to comply with their obligations under international law.
The crowdfunding campaign can be found via GoFundMe by searching for 'Hakeem's Honeymoon' or via: https://www.gofundme.com/hakeem039s-honeymoon
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