The sister of a man who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia is asking seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton to help save her brother’s life.
Zeinab Abu Al-Kheir told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Hamilton’s declaration two weeks ago in Qatar that F1 is “duty bound” to raise awareness on human rights makes her think that he might be able to save her brother, Hussein Abu Al-Kheir. The spotlight of auto racing pivots to Saudi Arabia on Sunday when the kingdom for the first time hosts an F1 contest.
“A famous man like Hamilton can do something, he can talk with the prince (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), the minister of interior or even with King Salman,” Abu Al-Kheir said from her home near Ottowa. “People like Hamilton bring attention to the governments everywhere.”
In her letter to Hamilton, shared exclusively with the AP by the legal action NGO Reprieve, Abu Al-Kheir says her brother, a 56-year-old Jordanian, was put on death row five years ago on drug-related charges.
She says the husband and father of eight was unwittingly used as a drug mule and when he was arrested, horrifically tortured. On his route from Jordan into Saudi Arabia for work as a driver, customs officers one day searched his car.
“For 12 days, my brother told the officers the truth: that he knew nothing about the pills,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote in her letter. “They suspended him from the ceiling, upside down, and beat him on every part of his body. The torture was so severe that even a year later, we could see the marks. Eventually, he falsely admitted to trafficking the drugs.”
Read the full story in the Washington Post.