Saudi activist calls for LPGA Tour not to work with LIV Golf

Saudi activist Lina Alhathloul's sister was imprisoned for over 1000 days and deported to Saudi Arabia after attending a women's rights conference.

Saudi activist calls for LPGA Tour not to work with LIV Golf
Saudi activist calls for LPGA Tour not to work with LIV Golf

Saudi activist Lina Alhathloul has called for the LPGA Tour not to collaborate with LIV Golf in an open letter detailing a horrific story about her sister's treatment in Saudi Arabia.

Alhathloul's sister and women's rights defender Loujain helped to enforce social change in Saudi Arabia, playing an instrumental role in the driving ban against women being lifted in 2019.

But in 2018, she was kidnapped after a women's rights conference and deported to Saudi Arabia. According to Alhathloul, Loujain was subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, sexual harassment and force-feeding in a torture facility.

Loujain, who spent 1001 days in prison, is out on probation but under a travel ban in Saudi. This horrific series of events has led to Alhathloul reaching out to LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan and the tour's players to reconsider talks with LIV Golf.

Back in July, Marcoux Samaan said the LPGA Tour would "engage in a conversation" with LIV boss Greg Norman about a potential collaboration, another reason why Alhathloul has cause for concern.

Alhathloul says the torture techniques used on her sister were at the hands of "the crown prince's right-hand men." The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is Mohammed bin Salman, the chairman of the Public Investment Fund which bankrolls the LIV Golf Tour.

"Still, the legal framework that treats adult women as minors continues to affect all aspects of women's lives negatively and severely restricts their fundamental liberties," Alhathloul wrote.

"'Disobedience' by a woman towards her male guardian (father, husband, brother, or even son) also remains a crime, effectively rendering her new freedoms null and void if her male guardian objects.

"I understand that you might believe that your involvement with such a country could positively impact their fate but, given the present context, your participation in events hosted by the Crown Prince will only help rehabilitate him and cover up all the violations.

"I urge you to consider the human rights aspect of your potential involvement with LIV Golf and use your influence to positively raise the situation of women in the country and to publicly distance yourself from the Saudi regime."

Earlier this week, UK-based human rights group Reprieve called on Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter to speak publicly about the case of Abdullah Al-Howaiti, who was allegedly tortured into admitting to murdering a policeman in Dubai in 2017.

Alhathloul echoes the efforts of Reprieve in wanting to expose the sportswashing project that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been accused of running with LIV Golf in order to cover up human rights abuses.



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