Over the last ten days Football Federation Australia (FFA) has been monitoring the situation of Mr. Hakeem al-Araibi, who was detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and has been kept in detention pending an extradition hearing.
Mr. al-Araibi is a permanent resident of Australia, and was also granted refugee status by the Australian Government. He is also a footballer, who is currently registered for Pascoe Vale F.C. in the Victorian National Premier League competition.
FFA has received correspondence from Mr. al-Araibi’s club, Pascoe Vale F.C., as well as Football Victoria, Professional Footballers Australia, FIFA and a number of other members of the football family in Australia who have expressed concern about Mr. al-Araibi’s situation.
Over the last week, FFA has written to the Foreign Minister of Australia expressing its support for Mr. al-Araibi and has been in regular contact with the Australian Government.
Separately, FFA has written to the Ambassador of Thailand to Australia to formally express a desire for Mr. al-Araibi to be returned safely to Australia. A copy of this letter was also provided to the Football Association of Thailand.
FFA recognises and welcomes advice that the Australian Government has formally requested the Government of Thailand release Mr. al-Araibi from detention and allow him to return to Australia as soon as possible.
FFA also understands that senior Australian Government officials will continue to make high-level diplomatic representations with their Thai counterparts on this matter, and that these talks will be ongoing.