Zeinab Abu Al-Kheir told The Associated Press that she strongly believes seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton can help save her brother’s life. Her brother Hussein Abu Al-Kheir was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.
“Dear Lewis, I’m writing to you in the hope that can save my brother’s life,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote last week to Hamilton from her home in Canada, in a letter shared exclusively with the AP. “Just saying his name while you are in Saudi Arabia may be enough.”
“A famous man like Hamilton can do something, he can talk with the prince (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), the minister of interior or even with King Salman,” Abu Al-Kheir said from her home near Ottawa. “People like Hamilton bring attention to the governments everywhere.”
Abu Al-Kheir says her brother, a 56-year-old Jordanian, was put on death row five years ago on drug-related charges.
She says the husband and father of eight was unwittingly used as a drug mule and when he was arrested, horrifically tortured. On his route from Jordan into Saudi Arabia for work as a driver, customs officers one day searched his car.
“For 12 days, my brother told the officers the truth: that he knew nothing about the pills,” Abu Al-Kheir wrote in her letter. “They suspended him from the ceiling, upside down, and beat him on every part of his body. The torture was so severe that even a year later, we could see the marks. Eventually, he falsely admitted to trafficking the drugs.”
Amnesty International ranked Saudi Arabia third in the world for the highest number of executions in 2019.
– Ella Breedlove