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Good News Stories - April 2021

Thailand
On 12 February Hakeem al-Araibi arrived at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne and into the arms of his joyous wife. The Thai authorities have now dropped the falsified case against Melbourne-based footballer Hakeem. His wife had been separated from her husband since his arrest on their honeymoon in November last year. He had spent 76 days unjustly imprisoned in Thailand and for every single one of those days, he faced deportation to danger in Bahrain.

Hakeem fled Bahrain in 2014 after he was convicted in an unfair trial of vandalising a police station, even though he was abroad and playing in a televised football match at the time. In 2017 Hakeem found refuge in Australia. A talented footballer, he resumed his career playing for Pascoe Vale FC in the Victorian football league. Since finding refuge in Australia, he has spoken out about human rights abuses in Bahrain, including the torture he suffered in detention.

In November Hakeem travelled with his wife to Thailand for their honeymoon, but was detained on arrival after the Bahrain authorities initiated an Interpol red notice for him– effectively an arrest warrant. This goes against Interpol’s own regulations which ban red notices against refugees on behalf of the country they fled from. The red notice was lifted, yet Thailand continued to detain Hakeem and were considering deporting him back to Bahrain.

On his release, Hakeem’s wife sent this message to everyone who helped free Hakeem: “My heart is now full with gratitude. Just so thankful that these tears are falling out of relief and joy. I’m especially grateful for all people who supported Hakeem around the world. Finally this nightmare has ended, and I am very happy to see everyone happy with me at this moment. I would like to say thank you Australian Government for all this support, thank you Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Lawyers, Craig, Andrew, Sarah, Pascoe Vale Club, GIDHR, Sayed, all journalists, the Australian people, friends and family and everyone who has supported.” Source.

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Egypt
Ahmad Al-Daydamoun, a dentist in Egypt, has been finally released after 18 months. Ahmad was one of many health care workers who have been arbitrarily detained for expressing safety concerns during the Covid19 pandemic or criticizing their poor working conditions. Source.

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