‘The Defenders’, a Doco About Hakeem al-Araibi, is Coming to Prime Video

The Defenders Craig Foster
Courtesy of Prime Video

“The Defenders” will launch exclusively on Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand and Canada next year.

The feature documentary was described by the service as “an incredible, nail-biting, race-against-time thriller” which tells the true story of Hakeem al-Araibi, a Bahraini footballer turned political refugee, who was arrested while on his honeymoon in Thailand under an invalid Interpol warrant.

Former Socceroo captain Craig Foster (pictured above) became the leader of a team of human rights activists, social media warriors and ordinary Australians who launched a campaign to #SaveHakeem.

“The Defenders” was produced by Sweetshop and Green, with support from Prime Video.

Gal Greenspan, producer and co-managing director of Sweetshop and Green, said: “We are honoured that Hakeem has entrusted us with his story, which is a powerful example of what is both won and lost when individuals stand together to fight for justice.

“We are deeply thankful to Prime Video for helping us to bring this important story to life, as well as our other financial partners who made this film happen.”

Tyler Bern, head of content for Prime Video across Australia, New Zealand and Canada, was full of praise for the project.

“This documentary aptly captures how the dedication of Craig Foster, through a hashtag, ignited a worldwide movement to save Hakeem. Following the success of “Burning”, “Kick Like Tayla” and “Unheard”, Prime Video is proud to bring “The Defenders” to Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. We hope it will spark important conversations around the world,” he said.

“The team at Sweetshop and Green are incredible producing partners, and have an incredible back catalogue of scripted and factual content, so we were very excited to work with them on bringing this gripping and alarming story to our customers.”

Al-Araibi flagged the potential for change.

“I was saved by the generosity of so many people who helped me. But corrupt governments around the world are free to keep chasing and torturing those who disagree with them,” he said.

“I hope this documentary helps to shine a light on these corrupt leaders to help save the next person in need.”

Foster added: “Sport has a line that it won’t cross when money and politics become more important than principle or human life. Hakeem al-Araibi pushed football to be better and we made it respond.”

“The Defenders” had funding from Screen Australia, Vic Screen and the South Australian Film Commission, with international sales managed by Autlook Film Sales.

The news about the al-Araibi doco was part of the streaming giant’s announcement of six new productions, taking its total local output for 2023 to nine new titles.