Cape Town - The world's top golfers should speak out about Saudi Arabia's "abysmal" human rights record, according to Amnesty International.
The second Saudi International has attracted a star-studded field
despite the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian
consulate in Turkey in October 2018, focusing further attention on the
World No 1 Brooks Koepka, Open champion Shane Lowry, Dustin
Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia are among the field for the
£2.7million event in King Abdullah Economic City, won by Johnson last
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy turned down large appearance fees to
compete at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, with McIlroy saying of
his decision: "One hundred percent, there's a morality to it as well."
In a statement to the PA news agency, Felix Jakens, Amnesty
International UK's head of campaigns, said: "As with a whole host of
other sports, the Saudi International is clearly another attempt by the
Saudi Arabian authorities to try to 'sportswash' the country's
"It's yet another attempt to use the glamour and prestige of top-tier
sport as a PR tool to distract from Saudi Arabia's abysmal human rights
"Under the Saudi Crown Prince, there's been a sweeping human rights
crackdown - with numerous peaceful activists jailed, including Loujain
al-Hathloul and other women's rights defenders.
"There's been a whitewash over Jamal Khashoggi's murder, there are
continuing concerns over Saudi hacking, and the Saudi-led military
coalition in Yemen has a bloody record of launching indiscriminate
attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places.
"We'd ask everyone involved in the Saudi International to properly
familiarise themselves with the dire human rights situation in Saudi
Arabia and be prepared to speak out about it."
The Ladies European Tour will also stage an event in Saudi Arabia in
March, while the kingdom staged the world heavyweight fight between
Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr last year.
- TeamTalk Media