More than 30 athletes from across the Australian sporting spectrum have united to urge Prime Minister Scott Morrison to intervene in favour of their fellow athlete Hakeem Al-Araibi.

Champions and captains of Australian sport have unified on the 60th day of Al-Araibi’s detention to demonstrate solidarity and urge the Prime Minister and the Australian Government to facilitate his immediate release.

In a letter to Prime Minister Morrison, the coalition of Australian athletes are imploring the PM to escalate Al-Araibi’s case directly to Thailand’s Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-ocha.

“Hakeem is a torture survivor, former international athlete and brave young man who spoke on behalf of… freedom and democracy. His rights as a refugee under international law are being contravened and we stand in solidarity with him as former champions and Captains of Australian sport,” the letter reads.

Five professional players’ unions, including signatories from the Rugby League Players Association, Professional Footballers Australia, Australian Netball Players Association, Australian Basketballers’ Association and the Australian Cricketers’ Association have been joined by elite athletes from 17 sports.

Included among the signatories are Olympic Gold Medallists Kim Brennan OAM (Rowing), Steve Hooker OAM (Pole Vault), Jamie Dwyer OAM (Hockey), Kate Campbell OAM (Swimming) and Katie Kelly OAM (Paratriathlon) who join the likes of NRL Premiership winner James Maloney and former Soccer captain and coach, Frank Farina OAM.

Al-Araibi, an Australian permanent resident granted refugee status in 2016, was placed in detention by Thai authorities on November 27, 2018, and is facing imminent extradition to Bahrain.

Two-time Olympian and human rights and immigration Lawyer, Nikki Dryden, said: “Hakeem’s case is not of a refugee or football player being detained because he did something wrong. This is a case of a football player who used his profile in the community for good. He spoke out in support of freedom and democracy and that is precisely why he is being detained. The world’s sporting community, from the International Olympic Committee – who is the supreme authority over all Olympic sports, including football – to professional athletes everywhere, needs to stand up for Hakeem and for an athlete’s right to freedom of speech.”

Olympian, International Judo Federation Athletes Commission, Natalie Galea said: “In sport we look out for our team mates. We’ve got each other’s backs. As an Australian Olympian, I have competed and travelled around the world without fear of persecution. I’m signing this letter urging Scott Morrison to speak directly to Thailand’s Prime Minister, to secure Hakeem’s immediate release and safe return to Australia.”

National Director of Amnesty International Australia Claire Mallinson, said: “The Australian government has recognised the need to give Hakeem and his family refuge from persecution in Bahrain. Amnesty and others continue to work to get Hakeem released, but he is losing hope. The Australian government must continue to do all it can to end his detention and return Hakeem to safety.”

Since his detention, the Australian Government – through Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne – Football Federation Australia, FIFPro and FIFA have all called for Hakeem’s release and return to Australia.

In response to Hakeem’s detention, Professional Footballers Australia, the broader Australian football community and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International have driven a social and advocacy campaign under the hashtag #SaveHakeem, which has drawn international attention.