Friday, January 21, 2022

The sister of a man imprisoned in Saudi Arabia writes to Hamilton. NWN News

PARIS (NWN) – The sister of a man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia is asking seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton to help save her brother’s life.

Zainab Abu al-Kheer told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that Hamilton’s announcement two weeks ago in Qatar that F1 is “duty bound” To raise awareness of human rights he feels that he may be able to save his brother Hussein Abu al-Kheer. Auto racing pivots into headlines in Saudi Arabia on Sunday when the kingdom is hosting an F1 competition for the first time.

“Dear Lewis, I am writing to you in the hope that my brother’s life may be saved,” Abu al-Kheer wrote to Hamilton from his home in Canada last week, in a note exclusively shared with the NWN. in the letter. “When you’re in Saudi Arabia, just saying his name might be enough.”

When asked about the letter during his pre-race news conference on Thursday, Hamilton said, “I’m not really sure what letter you’re referring to, so I can’t really comment on that. “

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most prolific executioners, dramatically reduced the number of executions in 2020, following changes that bar executions for nonviolent drug-related crimes, according to a government tally and independent observers Is.

With his younger brother jailed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, some 6,000 miles (about 9,700 kilometers) away, Abu al-Kheer said he hoped Hamilton could build ties to the powerful Saudis.

“Something a celebrity like Hamilton can do is talk to the prince (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), the interior minister or even King Salman,” said Abu al-Kheer from his home near Ottawa. said. “People like Hamilton get the attention of governments everywhere.”

In his letter to Hamilton shared exclusively with the NWN by legal action NGO Repriv, Abu al-Kheer says his brother, Jordan, 56, was sentenced to death five years ago on drug-related charges Was.

She says the husband and father of eight children were unintentionally used as a drug mule and, when arrested, were horribly tortured. On his way from Jordan to Saudi Arabia to work as a driver, customs officials searched his car one day.

“For 12 days, my brother told the authorities the truth: that he knew nothing about bullets,” Abu al-Kheer wrote in his letter. “They hung her upside down from the ceiling, and beat her on every part of her body. The torture was so severe that even a year later we could see the scars. Eventually, he falsely admitted to smuggling drugs. ,

Amnesty International has ranked Saudi Arabia third in the world for the highest number of executions in 2019.

According to Repriv, King Salman and the powerful Crown Prince have executed 392 people for nonviolent crimes in six years.

There was a significant drop in 2020 compared to an all-time high of 184 executions a year ago. The drop resulted in a moratorium on the death penalty for drug-related offenses.

But Abu al-Kheer told the NWN he is worried his brother could still face the gallows.

“He said that they have stopped beheading (since) for almost a year. But there is no one who knows what they are doing (inside the jail).”

Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been accused of “game-washing” their human rights records by using high-profile sporting events to project a favorable image.

Qatar will host the World Cup next year. Two years ago, boxer Anthony Joshua left Saudi Arabia wealthier by nearly $70 million after a victory in Riyadi., Saudi Arabia came under scrutiny after buying English Premier League club Newcastle in October,

Human Rights Watch launched a campaign late last year that is an attempt by the Saudi government to spend billions of dollars hosting major events as a “deliberate tactic to divert attention from the country’s image”. is in the form. as a pervasive human rights violator.”

Heba Morayeff, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said glamorous events should not detract from human rights.

“Saudi Arabian authorities have invested heavily in PR stunts to re-brand their image,” Morayef said in a news release on Thursday. “The authorities in Saudi Arabia need to realize that the best PR comes from respecting human rights.”

The NWN sent an email to government officials seeking clarification on the death penalty and human rights.

Meanwhile, Abu al-Kheer also wrote to King Salman.

“I did everything I could to help my brother, save his life,” she told the NWN. “I always give him hope to see his kids and wife.”

Hamilton has been a loud voice for human rights,

In July, he and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel spoke out against the Hungarian government’s planned LGBT law referendum.,

There was a rainbow on Hamilton’s Mercedes helmet in Qatar LGBTQ+. For Community. Two years ago, singer Nicki Minaj pulled out of a concert in Saudi Arabia to support women’s rights and gay rights.

In Saudi Arabia, homosexual relationships are considered a crime and can result in flogging or the death penalty. Discrimination and harassment are common but individuals are rare to be prosecuted.

Hamilton addressed the issue at his news conference on Thursday

“If everyone wants to take the time to read what the law is for the LGBTQ+ community, that’s terrible,” Hamilton said.

“Do I feel comfortable (racing) here? I would say I do. But it is not my choice to be here, the sport has chosen to be here,” said Hamilton. “A lot of changes need to happen and I think our game needs to do more.”


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