FIFA have demanded Hakeem Al Araibi, who faces possible deportation from Thailand should be freed and allowed to return to Australia to continue his football career.
Thai authorities Al Araibi arrested him on his arrival at a Bangkok airport in November, based on information from Interpol which issued by Bahrain, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’m a refugee in Australia, I’m scared of the Bahraini government … They will kill me. I don’t know what’s going to happen there. My life will end if I go to Bahrain.” Hakeem Al Araibi who has been detained in Thailand. pic.twitter.com/Jrdi0AwHS3
— #SanctionAustralia (@riserefugee) January 9, 2019
The refugee footballer was convicted of vandalizing a police station in Bahrain and was handed a 10-year prison sentence in his absence but has denied any wrongdoing.
“Following a renewed exchange with the Australian Football Federation, FIFA is again calling for a humane and speedy resolution of the case concerning the player Hakeem Al Araibi,” the organisation said in a statement.
“This player, a Bahrain national, is currently being detained in prison in Thailand awaiting the outcome of extradition proceedings to Bahrain, where he was previously convicted of a criminal offence, the validity of which he strongly contests,” continued the statement.
“This situation should not have arisen, in particular, since Mr Al-Araibi now lives and works and plays as a professional footballer in Australia, where he has been accorded refugee status.”
“FIFA is, therefore, calling on all the relevant authorities (in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia) to take the necessary steps to ensure that Mr Hakeem Al-Araibi is allowed to return safely to Australia where he can resume his career as a professional footballer.”