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FIFPRO is today calling on footballers around the world to help a fellow player who fears he will be tortured again.

Hakeem al-Araibi is a refugee under international law who has spent nearly two months of unlawful detention in a Thailand prison while awaiting the outcome of proceedings to have him extradited to Bahrain.

Hakeem, a former Bahraini national team player, found refuge and safety in Australia after fleeing torture and persecution in his home country.

He must be free to return to Melbourne, where he is a player for Pascoe Vale FC, and allowed to live in peace.

We stand in solidarity with Hakeem and are encouraging players to add their names to a petition, created by Amnesty International, which has gathered some 16,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.

To add your support, click here: https://action.amnesty.org.au/act-now/savehakeem-tell-thailand-to-release-refugee-footballer

Hakeem Bahrain

On November 27, Hakeem travelled to Bangkok with his wife to celebrate their honeymoon and was arrested on arrival after Bahraini authorities issued, via Interpol, a warrant for his arrest. The Interpol Red Notice has since been removed and yet Hakeem remains trapped in a crammed cell.

FIFPRO, as the representative body of professional football players worldwide, is deeply concerned about his safety, and the manner in which Asian football authorities, including the AFC’s Bahraini president, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, have remained silent on the matter.

FIFPRO wrote to FIFA in early December seeking assistance, before approaching the AFC President, who is also a FIFA Vice President, asking him to intervene.

Furthermore, today we are asking FIFA’s independent Human Rights Advisory Board to investigate if a breach in the football ruling body’s human rights policy has occurred.

We believe the policy, adopted in 2017, establishes clear grounds and obligations for FIFA, the AFC, member associations, officials, and other relevant parties, to exercise maximum possible leverage, including close cooperation with the governments of Bahrain, Australia and Thailand.

We applaud efforts to help Hakeem by the Australian football community, human rights activists, notably former international player Craig Foster, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), and the World Players’ Association.

The clock is ticking and we ask all footballers to do what they can to help #SaveHakeem.

(Photo above: Hakeem al-Araibi in action for the national team of Bahrain)

(Photo below: Hakeem al-Araibi at a Bangkok detention centre escorted by Thai law enforcement officers)