June 6, 2023

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Sister of Saudi Arabia prisoner seeks Lewis Hamilton’s help

PARIS — The sister of a male who was sentenced to demise in Saudi Arabia is asking seven-time Method Just one winner Lewis Hamilton to assistance help save her brother’s lifetime.

Zeinab Abu Al-Kheir explained to The Associated Press in a phone interview that Hamilton’s declaration two months in the past in Qatar that F1 is “duty bound” to elevate awareness on human legal rights can make her believe that he may possibly be able to help save her brother, Hussein Abu Al-Kheir. The spotlight of vehicle racing pivots to Saudi Arabia on Sunday when the kingdom for the 1st time hosts an F1 contest.

“Dear Lewis, I’m writing to you in the hope that can help save my brother’s lifetime,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote previous 7 days to Hamilton from her home in Canada, in a letter shared exclusively with the AP. “Just stating his identify even though you are in Saudi Arabia may well be plenty of.”

Requested about the letter all through his pre-race news meeting on Thursday, Hamilton stated, “I’m not really absolutely sure which letter you happen to be referring to, so I cannot really comment on that a person.”

Saudi Arabia, for several years a person of the world’s most prolific executioners, significantly diminished the selection of persons put to demise in 2020, following alterations halting executions for non-violent drug-relevant crimes, according to the government’s tally and unbiased observers.

With her younger brother jailed practically 6,000 miles (about nine,seven hundred kilometers) away in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, Abu Al-Kheir stated she hopes Hamilton may possibly turn out to be a link to impressive Saudis.

“A famous male like Hamilton can do a thing, he can speak with the prince (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), the minister of inside or even with King Salman,” Abu Al-Kheir stated from her home near Ottowa. “People like Hamilton convey interest to the governments just about everywhere.”

In her letter to Hamilton, shared exclusively with the AP by the legal action NGO Reprieve, Abu Al-Kheir says her brother, a fifty six-yr-aged Jordanian, was put on demise row five several years in the past on drug-relevant charges.

She says the husband and father of eight was unwittingly applied as a drug mule and when he was arrested, horrifically tortured. On his route from Jordan into Saudi Arabia for operate as a driver, customs officers a person day searched his vehicle.

“For 12 days, my brother explained to the officers the reality: that he knew almost nothing about the drugs,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote in her letter. “They suspended him from the ceiling, upside down, and beat him on each section of his body. The torture was so significant that even a yr later on, we could see the marks. At some point, he falsely admitted to trafficking the prescription drugs.”

Amnesty Intercontinental rated Saudi Arabia 3rd in the globe for the maximum selection of executions in 2019.

According to Reprieve, 392 persons have been executed for non-violent crimes in the 6 several years that King Salman and the impressive crown prince have ruled.

There was a substantial fall in 2020 when compared to an all-time substantial of 184 executions the yr in advance of. The fall resulted in section from a moratorium on demise penalties for drug-relevant offenses.

But Abu Al-Kheir explained to the AP she’s nervous her brother could even now experience execution.

“They stated they have stopped the demise (from) beheading since virtually a person yr. But there is no person who is aware of what they are undertaking (within the jail),” she stated.

Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been accused of “sports-washing” their human legal rights information by making use of substantial-profile sporting situations to current a favorable graphic.

Qatar hosts the Globe Cup subsequent yr. Two several years in the past, boxer Anthony Joshua still left Saudi Arabia all around $70 million richer after successful in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia came under scrutiny in Oct after obtaining English Premier League club Newcastle.

Human Legal rights View introduced a marketing campaign late previous yr to counter what it says has been an energy by the Saudi government to devote billions of pounds web hosting main situations as “ a deliberate technique to deflect from the country’s graphic as a pervasive human legal rights violator.”

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, stated glamorous situations need to not deflect from human legal rights.

“The Saudi Arabian authorities have invested closely in PR stunts to re-brand their graphic,” Morayef stated Thursday in a news launch. “The Saudi Arabia authorities have to have to understand that the greatest PR arrives from respecting human legal rights.”

The AP sent an email to government authorities looking for clarification on the demise penalty and human legal rights.

Abu Al-Kheir, meanwhile, also wrote to King Salman.

“I tried out all the means to assistance my brother, to help save his lifetime,” she explained to The AP. “I constantly give him hope, to see his little ones and wife.”

Hamilton has been a loud voice for human legal rights.

In July, he and 4-time winner Sebastian Vettel spoke out in opposition to the Hungarian government’s prepared LGBT regulation referendum.

Hamilton had a rainbow on his Mercedes helmet in Qatar for the LGBTQ+ local community. Two several years in the past, singer Nicki Minaj pulled out of a concert in Saudi Arabia to assist women’s legal rights and gay legal rights.

In Saudi Arabia, exact same-sexual intercourse relationships are criminalized and can consequence in flogging or demise sentences. Discrimination and persecution are common but it’s scarce to see men and women prosecuted.

Hamilton addressed the problem in his news meeting Thursday

“If everyone’s would like to choose the time to go and read what the regulation is for the LGBTQ + local community, it is really terrifying,” Hamilton stated.

“Do I come to feel comfortable (racing) here? I will say I do. But it is not my selection to be here, the activity has taken the selection to be here,” Hamilton stated. “There’s a whole lot of modify that desires to occur and I believe our activity desires to do a lot more.”


Extra AP vehicle racing: https://apnews.com/hub/vehicle-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Athletics