Families of Saudi prisoners urge Lionel Messi to reject partnership deal

Families of Saudi prisoners urge Lionel Messi to reject partnership deal

2/25/2021 7:16:00 PM

Families of Saudi prisoners urge Lionel Messi to reject partnership deal

‘Visit Saudi’ are currently on a publicity drive and have been seeking high-profile stars to endorse their campaign with the Barcelona star said to be a prime target

✕Manchester City forward Lionel Messi(REUTERS)Lionel Messinot to be “used” by the country’s regime to “launder its reputation”, after the Barcelona star has reportedly received an offer to become the face of the kingdom’s tourist board.‘Visit Saudi’ are currently on a publicity drive, and have been seeking high-profile stars to endorse their campaign, with Messi reportedly being the prime target.

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A decision over what would be a multi-million pound contract is expected in the next month, and that has prompted family members of prisoners of conscience to write an open letter imploring the Argentine great to “say no” and “stand up to those who trample on others”.

The letter, organised by human rights advocacy body, Grant Liberty, reads: “You are an inspiration to millions and what you say and do really matters. To put it bluntly – you have enormous power, but with that power comes great responsibility.“The Saudi regime wants to use you to launder its reputation. Prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, sexually assaulted, and held in prolonged solitary confinement – often for months at a time – on an industrial scale.” headtopics.com

It is pointed out to Messi that acceptance of the offer would represent the use of his status to soften Saudi Arabia’s international reputation.“Women’s rights campaigners, reformist preachers, Shia activists, democracy campaigners, indeed anyone who criticises or even questions the regime can face long-term imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty.

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Messi would never accept to promote them, nor would any team accept a sponsorship from Saudi Arabia, especially after the senseless killing of Jamal Khashoggi by the ruler of SA Mohammed bin Salman.