Fighting for Hakeem is the powerful memoir by former Socceroos captain Craig Foster of the campaign to free Hakeem al-Araibi, who was detained in a Thai prison for 76 days. Hakeem, a semi-professional soccer player and Bharani refugee had made a new life in Melbourne, and was on holiday in Thailand with his wife when he was arrested, facing extradition and political persecution by the Bahraini government. Taking to the Festival stage with ABC’s Tracey Holmes, Craig and Hakeem reveal the full story of Hakeem’s ordeal and how Craig lobbied FIFA and the UN, and galvanised public support to challenge two monarchies and a military junta and enable Hakeem’s safe return to his wife and home in Australia.

Supported by the City of Parramatta.

Craig Foster (Australian)

Craig Foster

Craig Foster is a former player, and captain of, the Socceroos. Following his retirement from the field, Craig has built a multiple Logie-winning broadcast career with the SBS. He is an Ambassador for Human Rights and Refugees with Amnesty Australia. Craig has a Master of International Sport Management and a postgraduate degree in football management and is currently completing his law degree.

Hakeem al-Araibi (Australian)

Hakeem al-Araibi

Hakeem al-Araibi is a professional football player who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia. Hakeem and his wife travelled to Thailand for a delayed honeymoon in November 2018. Here Hakeem was arrested following an Interpol notice issued at the Gulf state’s request. He spent 76 days in Bangkok’s Klong Prem Remand Prison before a global campaign led by former Socceroo Craig Foster saw him released. Hakeem became an Australian citizen in March 2019.

Tracey Holmes (Australian)

Tracey Holmes

Tracey Holmes is an award-winning journalist, educator and mentor. Currently she works for the ABC and is presenter of the internationally recognised podcast The Ticket focusing on deep dives into the biggest issues in global sport. She has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Beijing and the Middle East. She has a Masters in Communications and is studying a graduate diploma of Sports Law at the Melbourne Law School.