With the 'all clear' from Australian immigration officials, Hakeem Al-Araibi and his wife travelled to Bangkok for their honeymoon. A honeymoon that has never happened.
Hakeem, who was granted refugee status by Australia in 2017 after fleeing persecution in Bahrain, was detained by Thai officials at the request of Bahrain.
That was in November 2018. Hakeem, who is a former national team player with Bahrain who now plays in the Victorian NPL competition with Pascoe Vale FC, is still in jail. Pascoe Vale FC is a member of the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC).
His wife has returned to Melbourne, their rent being paid by the PFA. Hakeem has no access to a phone or the internet. Visitation rights are limited and he knows no-one in Bangkok other than his Human Rights Watch appointed lawyer and Australian consular officials.
Thankfully, through Foreign Minister Marise Payne, the Australian Government is putting pressure on the Thai Government to let Hakeem go and return to Australia, to which he is legally entitled to do.
Also to their credit, FIFA has issued a statement saying that Hakeem should be able to return to Australia. FFA has also held talks with AFC officials while the Asian Cup is on in the UAE.
The Thai Government seems to be unclear on what to do with Bahrain apparently exerting pressure on Thai government authorities to return Hakeem to Bahrain and almost certain persecution and torture. The other individual remaining silent is Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation and a member of Bahrain's Royal Family. For further background, read here.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
Despite the fact that Hakeem has been in jail for getting close to 50 days, we're hopeful, bordering on confident, that he will be allowed to return to Australia.
When he does, we reckon he's due that honeymoon!
Please join us
We're asking you to join with us in helping to give Hakeem and his wife the honeymoon they didn't have - albeit in Australia!
We'll even share with him your suggestions as to where the honeymoon should be: the heart of Australia around Uluru and Alice Springs, Broome and the Kimberley, the Great Barrier Reef, terrific Tasmania, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Fleurieu Peninsula, Margaret River, North Queensland ... wherever they'd like to go, as long as it's local. :)
Are there perks?
We don't have any perks.
We're just asking you to help a good cause of making sure Hakeem Al-Araibi and his wife get their honeymoon once he's returned home to Australia.
This is about the Australian football community showing one of their own that we care, by helping in a practical way and giving Hakeem and his wife they honeymoon they didn't have.
100% of the proceeds (less any fees for GoFundMe) will be passed from AAFC either directly to Hakeem and his wife or via Pascoe Vale FC, once Hakeem is freed.