Open letter from Reprieve to Sebastian Vettel
Saudi Arabia is using its vast wealth to attract a range of sports and sports competitors to its shores as part of a programme to improve its reputation. They have also poured large sums into Newcastle United football club as part of the same exercise. The money seems to work and sports such as tennis, golf, equestrianism, boxing and formula 1 racing have all eagerly taken part and accepted the Saudi millions. They have invested in US sports such as baseball and basketball. The sports people seem not to be concerned at the lack of women’s rights, the use of torture, suppression of free speech and barbaric executions which go on there. In addition, Saudi Arabia has been involved in the war in Yemen which has resulted in considerable loss of life.
Below, is a letter from Reprieve to the racing driver Sebastien Vettel asking him to speak out –
Dear Sebastian Vettel,
We wanted to tell you, as an F1 driver for Aston Martin, about the Saudi Arabian government’s human rights abuses and the fact that Saudi Arabia has just invested in the company you drive for.
The Reprieve community may not be experts on cars or racing, but we are experts in the case of Abdullah al-Howaiti – a child defendant at risk of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah was arrested when he was just 14 years old and tortured “confessing” to crimes he did not commit.
Just last year, the Saudi Arabian regime that has been allowed to invest in Aston Martin, executed child defendant Mustafa al-Darwish, who was 17 years old at the time of his so-called crime. Having a photo on his phone was amongst his alleged offences. If you speak up, you can stop Abdullah facing the same fate.
The Saudi Arabian Government is doing what is known as sportswashing. They’re appointing tourism ambassadors such as Lionel Messi, creating the LIV golf tournament, and buying sports clubs like Newcastle FC. This is a regime trying very hard to distract people from its human rights abuses.
We are asking you to follow Lewis Hamilton in speaking out against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. You can use your platform as one of F1’s most famous drivers and representing a team part-owned by Saudi Arabia’s government to save lives.
We read that you said, “there are certain values we must stand up for because they outweigh financial interests” and “you also have responsibility and you should make sure you go ahead with the right values and symbols.” Today we’re asking you to exercise your responsibility, value Abdullah’s life, and speak out for him before you retire at the end of the year. Your voice could make the difference.
Will you speak up for him?
The Reprieve Community
You can sign this petition by following this link. Please help us and the Reprieve community in trying to stop Saudi using its wealth to smooth over its appalling human rights record. Thank you.