The footballer’s plight crossed lines of international diplomacy, human rights, the Arab Spring, sport and domestic politics

Before Hakeem al-Araibi walked into Melbourne airport’s arrivals area, into the hordes of waiting media and supporters, he stopped in the duty free shop to buy his wife some perfume.

It had been 77 days since they’d been alone together. Seventy-seven days since their planned honeymoon to Thailand’s beaches was stopped before it began, as Thai authorities met the couple as they disembarked from the plane at Bangkok and arrested al-Araibi on an Interpol red notice he had no idea existed.

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Read More Hakeem al-Araibi: power, politics, football and the will of the people

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