The Defenders

by Matthew Bate, Australia, 2023, 81’ Greek Premiere

As talented Bahraini refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi steps off a plane in Thailand to begin his honeymoon, he finds himself surrounded by police with an Interpol arrest warrant accusing him of terrorist activities. What unfolds is the gripping true story of a heroic whistleblower who, after speaking out about his own torture, sets in motion a revenge plot involving three countries, two royal families and the world’s most powerful sporting body, FIFA.

As Hakeem awaits extradition to Bahrain, where he is likely to be killed, a motley crew of activists, led by a retired Australian football captain turned TV pundit, race against the clock to save Hakeem’s life and the soul of football itself.

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