Jamal Khashoggi’s wife sends desperate plea to Rafa Nadal to cancel his contract with her husband’s killers

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal inked a multimillion dollar contract earlier this week to become the tennis ambassador for Saudi Arabia, an unexpected move for ethical tennis fans given the Middle Eastern nation’s poor human rights record.

Egyptian Hanan Al-Ater, the widow of the assassinated Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, made a plea to tennis player Rafael Nadal to back out of this bloody deal, stating that her husband’s blood had not yet held accountable.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal has signed a lucrative contract to work with the Saudi Tennis Federation (STF). The move was announced on Monday, with Nadal posting an announcement on his social media accounts to promote his new role.

While the process appears to be solely sporting, in reality, Nadal has become part of the “Saudi sports weapon”, also known as the “sportswashing policy,” in which the despotic Saudi regime uses millions of dollars in the sports industry to conceal its appalling human rights record and its atrocities against political opponents.

Since taking office in 2017, the Saudi regime has launched a frenzied campaign against opponents, activists, and critical voices. Hundreds of them have been arrested, while many were forced to leave the country, who were also prosecuted, including the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 by a special Saudi assassination squad directed by Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), as UN and international intelligence investigations concluded.

In total disregard to the Saudi regime’s violations and oppression prevailing, Nadal proudly promoted his new role in Saudi Arabia and posted: “In a recent visit I saw the interest in both aspects and I want to be part of that role of growing the sport of tennis around the world. The kids are looking to the future and I saw they are passionate about sports… I want to encourage them to pick up a racket and enjoy the benefits of a healthy living.”

But Khashoggi’s widow quickly responded to him, saying, “Please do not forget the legacy of my husband, Jamal Khashoggi.” 

Many tennis legends also criticized the Saudi regime’s investment in tennis, such as John McEnroe, who said, “Let’s put it this way… money talks. ‘Oh, no, I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I disagree with it completely, with the golf & the tennis. The ladies are going to play the WTA Finals there? Are you kidding me? Because they treat women so well? That part is to me laughable.”

The international community did not really prosecute the Saudi government for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi or for any other heinous crimes, aside from a few token criticisms and condemnations. It also had no effect on other governments’ positions toward the Saudi regime because they are still willing to cooperate with it and provide it with the necessary support, both diplomatically and militarily.

Therefore, we emphasize that international cooperation with the Saudi regime must end in all areas, including sports, until the Kingdom guarantees improvements to the human rights file, releases prisoners of conscience, launches investigations into violations against opponents and their families both domestically and internationally, and ends the Yemen war. 

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