Refugee footballer becomes Australian citizen after Thai-Bahrain ordeal

A refugee footballer who was detained in Thailand and threatened with extradition to Bahrain said he feels sure “no one can follow me now,” after becoming an Australian citizen on Tuesday (Mar 12).

Hakeem al-Araibi, who was granted refugee status and residency in Australia in 2017 after fleeing Bahrain, became an Australian at a ceremony in Melbourne.

The 25-year-old shot to international fame when he was arrested while on honeymoon in Thailand last year.

He was wanted by Bahrain on offences linked to the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

Amid a worldwide outcry, he was eventually allowed back to Melbourne, where he plays semi-professional football.

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