Sister of Saudi Arabia prisoner seeks Lewis Hamilton’s help

PARIS — The sister of a person who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia is inquiring seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton to help save her brother’s life.

Zeinab Abu Al-Kheir explained to The Affiliated Push in a phone interview that Hamilton’s declaration two months ago in Qatar that F1 is “duty bound” to elevate awareness on human rights makes her think that he may be capable to help save her brother, Hussein Abu Al-Kheir. The highlight of auto racing pivots to Saudi Arabia on Sunday when the kingdom for the very first time hosts an F1 contest.

“Dear Lewis, I’m producing to you in the hope that can help save my brother’s daily life,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote previous 7 days to Hamilton from her property in Canada, in a letter shared solely with the AP. “Just indicating his name even though you are in Saudi Arabia may well be ample.”

Questioned about the letter throughout his pre-race information convention on Thursday, Hamilton explained, “I’m not actually absolutely sure which letter you are referring to, so I are unable to genuinely remark on that one.”

Saudi Arabia, for years one particular of the world’s most prolific executioners, dramatically reduced the number of people place to death in 2020, following variations halting executions for non-violent drug-linked crimes, according to the government’s tally and independent observers.

With her youthful brother jailed virtually 6,000 miles (about 9,700 kilometers) away in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, Abu Al-Kheir explained she hopes Hamilton could possibly become a relationship to strong Saudis.

“A famous gentleman like Hamilton can do a little something, he can chat with the prince (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), the minister of interior or even with King Salman,” Abu Al-Kheir stated from her household close to Ottowa. “People like Hamilton deliver consideration to the governments everywhere.”

In her letter to Hamilton, shared exclusively with the AP by the lawful action NGO Reprieve, Abu Al-Kheir claims her brother, a 56-year-aged Jordanian, was put on death row 5 many years ago on drug-connected rates.

She claims the spouse and father of eight was unwittingly utilized 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 single day searched his car.

“For 12 days, my brother told the officers the truth of the matter: that he knew almost nothing about the products,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote in her letter. “They suspended him from the ceiling, upside down, and beat him on every part of his human body. The torture was so significant that even a yr afterwards, we could see the marks. Finally, he falsely admitted to trafficking the prescription drugs.”

Amnesty International rated Saudi Arabia 3rd in the planet for the best amount of executions in 2019.

According to Reprieve, 392 men and women have been executed for non-violent crimes in the 6 yrs that King Salman and the effective crown prince have dominated.

There was a substantial drop in 2020 as opposed to an all-time significant of 184 executions the calendar year in advance of. The fall resulted in portion from a moratorium on demise penalties for drug-linked offenses.

But Abu Al-Kheir instructed the AP she’s anxious her brother could nonetheless experience execution.

“They stated they have stopped the dying (from) beheading due to the fact practically a person calendar year. But there is no one who knows what they are carrying out (within the prison),” she mentioned.

Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been accused of “sports-washing” their human legal rights information by using superior-profile sporting activities to current a favorable impression.

Qatar hosts the Earth Cup next calendar year. Two a long time ago, boxer Anthony Joshua remaining Saudi Arabia close to $70 million richer right after successful in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia came underneath scrutiny in Oct just after getting English Leading League club Newcastle.

Human Rights View released a campaign late previous calendar year to counter what it states has been an work by the Saudi govt to invest billions of dollars web hosting big events as “ a deliberate method to deflect from the country’s picture as a pervasive human legal rights violator.”

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Center East and North Africa, said glamorous functions must not deflect from human rights.

“The Saudi Arabian authorities have invested intensely in PR stunts to re-model their impression,” Morayef explained Thursday in a information launch. “The Saudi Arabia authorities want to understand that the best PR will come from respecting human legal rights.”

The AP despatched an electronic mail to governing administration authorities in search of clarification on the death penalty and human rights.

Abu Al-Kheir, in the meantime, also wrote to King Salman.

“I tried all the ways to enable my brother, to save his daily life,” she told The AP. “I often give him hope, to see his kids and wife.”

Hamilton has been a loud voice for human rights.

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

Hamilton had a rainbow on his Mercedes helmet in Qatar for the LGBTQ+ community. Two several years ago, singer Nicki Minaj pulled out of a live performance in Saudi Arabia to assist women’s rights and homosexual rights.

In Saudi Arabia, exact same-sexual intercourse associations are criminalized and can end result in flogging or death sentences. Discrimination and persecution are typical but it is rare to see individuals prosecuted.

Hamilton dealt with the problem in his information conference Thursday

“If everyone’s wishes to just take the time to go and go through what the regulation is for the LGBTQ + group, it is rather terrifying,” Hamilton said.

“Do I truly feel snug (racing) right here? I will say I do. But it’s not my choice to be here, the sport has taken the decision to be listed here,” Hamilton explained. “There’s a whole lot of alter that requires to take place and I feel our sport requirements to do a lot more.”


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