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Hakeem al-Araibi: international pressure forced Bahrain to blink

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The image of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi – barefoot, shackled, and surrounded by guards – shocked many across the world, and reinvigorated the resolve of his supporters.

This contrasts wildly with the moment Araibi’s release was announced on Monday. The feeling of injustice drove the global pressure on Thailand to drop Bahrain’s vendetta against a young man who had escaped torture and imprisonment to continue his football career in Australia.

Bahrain refugee soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi leaves the criminal court in Bangkok earlier this month.Credit:AP

As we celebrate Araibi’s safe return to his home, wife, and regular life in Melbourne, we must remember those who have the misfortune of languishing in Bahrain’s prisons.

Hours after hearing about Araibi’s release – resulting from Bahrain’s decision to finally withdraw its extradition request – my brother-in-law, Sayed Nizar, suffered a miscarriage of justice. Bahrain’s top court upheld his sentence to three years’ imprisonment. All in all, he will be spending 11 years in prison.

Sayed Nizar, his mother, Hajer, and cousin Mahmood remain behind bars........

© Canberra Times