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Golf stars Poulter, Westwood and Mickelson urged to speak out on Saudi death penalty at LIV Golf tournament

The Mirror reports on Reprieve calling on golf stars Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson to speak out at the LIV Golf tournament in Saudia Arabia on Abdullah al-Howaiti, a 20 year old man sentenced to death in the country.

In a statement Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “Abdullah al-Howaiti was arrested when he was just 14 years old and sentenced to death when he was 17. He remains on death row and if the Saudi Supreme Court upholds his conviction he will be at immediate risk of execution. Golfers in Jeddah for this weekend’s tournament have an opportunity to raise Abdullah’s case, knowing the world will hear.

“All we are asking Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson to do is say his name. Just by doing so they could save his life. Lewis Hamilton has shown elite athletes can raise human rights concerns while competing in Saudi Arabia.

“If the LIV tour is to be a positive force for change in Saudi Arabia, British golfers must follow his example. Speaking up for Abdullah al-Howaiti would be a start.”

“In March, Saudi Arabia executed 81 people on a single day, half of them convicted of attending protests, but Mohammed bin Salman would much rather we talk about the golf.

“This is what sportswashing does: distract from grave human rights abuses and project a false image of a country where the death penalty is routinely used to suppress dissent. The Saudi regime’s massive investment in sports, from the Public Investment Fund’s purchase of Newcastle United to hosting boxing matches and Formula One, in addition to the LIV tour, has coincided with a capital punishment crisis in the kingdom. More people were executed in the first six months of 2022 than in the previous two years combined.”