The family of a man facing death row in Saudi Arabia has written to footballing icon, Lionel Messi pleading for his intervention in the case.
The man sitting on death row is identified as Mohammed al Faraj who was jailed and put on death row for alleged ‘crimes’ on the Saudi regime since 2017.
Mohammed al Faraj was arrested while in his teens at 15 years of age, with his family seeking the Paris Saint Germain star who recently became the country’s new tourism ambassador.
According to Faraj’s family, the convict was tortured by the regime into making a false confession, which the family have now contacted the athlete in hopes of using his influence with the Saudi Arabian government to free the death row inmate.
The move to contact Lionel Messi to intervene in the matter can be seen as something of a double edged sword for the government who hopes to use sport to enhance its own image.
Lionel Messi is not the only one who has been reached out to on matters as delicate as this, as Lewis Hamilton recently had received a letter from another death row inmate, Abdullah al Howaiti who was arrested at the age of 14 and sentenced to death at 17.
The Argentine became Saudi Arabia’s tourism ambassador earlier in May.
The letter to the former Barcelona man reads:
“We respectfully ask for your attention and for the opportunity to raise the plight of our beloved Mohammed, who was taken from us when he was just a child. As Saudi Arabia’s tourism ambassador, you have a position of great influence. Will you use it to save the life of a young man?
“Prison guards beat and kicked him, and shackled his arms above his head for hours at a time. How can they treat a child in this heartless and brutal way?” the letter adds.
Faraj was said to have been bowling with his friends before he was arrested and taken to an adult prison and tortured, with the crimes he is guilty of being attending demonstrations.
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