A global campaign in 2018/19 to free a young, Bahraini refugee named Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison

In late 2018, the urgent plight of a young, Bahraini refugee and footballer from Melbourne club, Pascoe Vale FC came to the attention of a small group of his friends and supporters in Melbourne
They reached out to Craig, as a prominent former international player, broadcaster and player rights advocate for help to free the young man who had been seized from his airplane seat on the tarmac on arrival at Bangkok Airport, and placed into detention, several days later in the Bangkok Remand Prison
Despite not knowing Hakeem, so began an 77 day, international saga that carried Craig to Thailand several times, to Geneva, Amsterdam and FIFA House in Zurich to advocate for the young man’s freedom


Hakeem stepped off a flight from Thailand onto Australian soil, in Melbourne on February 12, 2019, ending one of Australia’s most prominent and successful public campaigns that reached 84 countries and over 30 million people, and saw legendary footballers like Gary Lineker, Robbie Fowler, Italian Captain Giorgio Chiellini, Australia’s Matildas Captain Sam Kerr, actors, artists and singers such as Jimmy Barnes and Anthony La Paglia, and Olympic legends from Australia and around the world lend their voice and support


Craig worked closely with the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, the Australian Government, the Embassies of numerous countries in Thailand, World Players United, the global athlete body, FIFPro, the global footballer’s representative body, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) and many other organisations to bring Hakeem home
Hakeem was later received by the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister, Marise Payne at Parliament House, Canberra and received his Australian Citizenship


Later in 2019, Craig co-authored a first hand account of the incredible campaign to free Hakeem al-Araibi along with former Amnesty Australia campaign manager, Alexandra Engel-Mallon called ‘Fighting for Hakeem’ including the political machinations, pressures, personal and family dangers and how he mobilised a social force for good across multiple countries, Monarchies and Governments
Hakeem and Craig later appeared at the United Nations, Geneva for the Centre for Sport and Human Rights and numerous other fora including the Australian Human Rights Commission conference, below


The campaign was featured on a number of prominent broadcasts including Australian Story, ABC, Australia