LE SCAN SPORT – The Guardian has revealed the contents of a letter received by the British pilot asking for help in a country, Saudi Arabia, which continues to ramp up the number of executions.
«Our demands for justice went unheeded. Perhaps when you say his name, those who decide his fate will listen. Will you raise your voice to save Abdullah? Whether in private conversations with authorities or in public while running here in Saudi Arabia, we believe it can make a difference.Through a letter to Lewis Hamilton, repeated by The Guardian newspaper, the family of Abdullah al-Howaiti wanted to draw the seven-time world champion’s attention to the fate of this young man, who is now 19 years old and was arrested at the age of 14 of a robbery at a jewelry store that resulted in the death of a police officer and was sentenced to death three years later in 2019. An execution stayed by the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia before being ruled again.
His family has always claimed his innocence, video evidence and written testimonies in support without ever being heard. But beyond the justifiable doubt of his guilt, Abdullah al-Howaiti remains the symbol of a country that is multiplying executions, as it did two weeks ago, on a day marked by 81 executions. “In a report released in January, a UN panel of experts classified some of Saudi Arabia’s violations of international law as potential crimes against humanity as the state continues to execute minors‘ says The Guardian. Human rights NGO Reprieve took the opportunity to challenge motorsport bosses. “By participating in races in Saudi Arabia, Formula 1 is effectively saying that it is acceptable to execute people for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations‘ she denounces, calling on the FIA to ban all racing in this country. Criticism that also affected Bahrain last weekend.
Russian jurisprudence now
Reprieve also draws on recent Russia-Ukraine case law to support his point:F1 showed it is capable of taking decisive action to protect human rights as it withdrew from the Russian GP within hours. Their failure to respond to the Saudi execution crisis is a shameful double standard.For his part, Lewis Hamilton has not yet responded. But the Briton had already voiced his questions during the test in Djebbah last season: “Am I comfortable here? I would not say that. It’s not my decision to race here, the sport made that decision. There must be changes here. So we have to educate people about that when we’re here.At the time, he was mainly referring to the condition of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia. It wouldn’t be surprising if he went further this weekend, he who never hesitates to get involved politically on causes close to his heart.
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