SYDNEY – A former Bahraini soccer participant and refugee turned an Australian citizen Wednesday, 4 weeks after detention in Thailand on an extradition request from his house nation raised worldwide concern.
Hakeem al-Araiby informed reporters he is “an Aussie now” and is completely happy to be protected.
The 25-year-old soccer participant fled Bahrain, citing political repression, and had lived underneath refugee standing in Australia for greater than a 12 months till he was detained in Bangkok in November in the beginning of a deliberate vacation together with his spouse.
Bahrain wished him returned to serve a jail sentence for a vandalism conviction he denies, however Thailand withdrew the extradition case final month after sustained stress from the Australian authorities and soccer our bodies.
He turned an Australian citizen together with 200 different folks at a ceremony in Melbourne, after passing his citizenship take a look at with a 100 % mark.
“I am an Aussie now,” he informed reporters.
“I am very completely happy to get citizen, I am very completely happy to be protected.”
Al-Araiby stated he hoped to quickly resume taking part in soccer for his semi-professional Melbourne membership, Pascoe Vale. However the defender additionally has his sights set on gaining a contract in Australia’s nationwide skilled competitors, the A-League, with hopes of at some point representing Australia in worldwide competitors.
“I need to give attention to soccer for this nation,” he stated.
Al-Araiby stated he was humbled by help from Australians within the marketing campaign which led to his return, and thanked former Australian captain Craig Foster and Overseas Minister Marise Payne, who led efforts for his launch.
“Throughout the Australian neighborhood, we have been involved for his welfare,” Payne stated on the citizenship ceremony. “I used to be very proud to witness that marketing campaign. It embodied a few of the finest components of Australia: taking care of each other, mateship, a good go.”
Foster stated he hoped to see al-Araiby at some point play for Australia, saying it was “surreal” to suppose that “not too way back, he was in jail fatigues sitting behind a perspex window.”