Detained in Thailand and wanted in Bahrain, Pascoe Vale footballer Hakeem AlAraibi awaits confirmation as to whether he will be allowed to return to Australia, the country he calls home after fleeing Bahrain.
AlAraibi’s club Pascoe Vale FC, who play in Victoria’s top-tier NPL competition, has supported him the whole way and are doing whatever they can to get their player home.
“The club is in constant communication with solicitors and lawyers and we’re doing everything we can to get him back,” club president Lou Tona said.
“He’s a really good kid and the situation is gut wrenching.”
“He came into the club last year as an injury replacement and played every game.”
“He made sure he got his life back on track and really started to move in the right direction.”
The club has worked alongside Football Federation Victoria and Professional Footballers Australia to provide letters of reference in addition to setting up a Gofundme account with the money going toward’s AlAraibi’s human rights lawyer.
“We can only do what we can do but we’re giving it a real crack,” Tona said.
AlAraibi travelled to Thailand on holiday with his wife to celebrate him being granted asylum in Australia after fleeing Bahrain where he was allegedly tortured for vandalising a police station, a crime the Pascoe Vale player denies.
According to reports AlAraibi was told to book a flight to Melbourne on Saturday night but was instead taken to a detention centre in Bangkok. The Interpol red notice AlAraibi was arrested under was lifted on Tuesday and now awaits the decision from Thai officials as to whether he return home.
“On Saturday morning he was told he could come back and three hours before the flight it was pulled,” Tona said.
“I can’t believe in 2018 a person can go back to his country and fear for his life.”
AlAraibi has represented the Bahrain national side and is currently signed with Pascoe Vale FC in Victoria’s NPL competition.