“In Saudi Arabia it is a crime to be homosexual or feminist”

first_img“Why has Amnesty International turned to denouncing the celebration of the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia?”—The celebration of sporting events in countries where there are serious human rights violations tends to aggravate those violations. I remember the World Cup in Argentina and the enormous repression there was. Or the China Games, in 2008. They made promises that it was going to be an opening, it wasn’t like that … You can’t make an abstraction of playing a football game without knowing where it is. The Saudis do not deserve it. It is necessary that the suffering of the Saudis be known outside of Saudi Arabia.—You wanted to see Luis Rubiales and sent him a letter. He said he answered it and you, no. What happened?“The fact is that Rubiales lied.” We sent him on October 11 a letter asking for an interview. It is not enough just for women to go to the stadium. That is a curtain that covers the same women who fought there for rights, such as driving or freeing themselves from male guardianship, are imprisoned. Rubiales talks about women’s football, has a corporate social responsibility committee … But can’t we sit down and talk about human rights? He never answered us.“Can it be extracted that it is a purely economic decision?”-Fundamentally. Like all events held in places where there are very serious violations of human rights. Rubiales talks about the Equality Super Cup, but how can you talk about that in a country that uses decapitation as the death penalty. In 2018, they executed 149 people. You cannot do abstraction from this.– It will be, by the way, an event practically without Spanish fans …– At the presentation of the Super Cup was the Saudi sports minister and the ambassador. They use sporting events to invite foreign investment. They came and said that everyone is invited to travel to Saudi Arabia. If you go, you have to stick to their laws. It is an arbitrary regime. Any decision made by a police officer, for example, cannot be reviewed.–What will those traveling find?“I will tell you what you will not see, but that it is there.” They will arrive, first, at a country at war with the Yemeni rebels and to which Spain has sold weapons worth € 1 million a day since 2015. That country at war also bombs civilian targets, such as markets and hospitals. It is a country where women activists protesting some of the current conquests of Saudi women, such as being able to have a passport, are in jail. Many of them have suffered abuse there. It is a country, Saudi Arabia, where it is difficult to find more human rights violations inside or outside its borders. – What could happen to a player of the four teams that play the Super Cup that had declared himself publicly gay?—A few months ago, in a promotional video from the state security agency, Saudi Arabia described homosexuality, feminism and atheism of extremist ideas. They did it the same day that the Saudi prince and Minister of Sports spoke of the opening of his country. The same day. Talking about equality between men and women, saying that you are an atheist or that you are homosexual, are criminal acts … And they use corporal punishment. A blogger questioned Islam six years ago and was punished with a thousand lashes. He is still in jail and during the Supercopa, he is eight years of imprisonment.“So, could a gay footballer be arrested?”-Could. Another thing is whether they do it or not, because they are a dictatorial regime.“Isn’t it shocking that the women’s Super Cup does not contemplate taking her, for now, to Saudi Arabia?”– It must be said that many players, including the National Team, have expressed their opposition. They do not want to go. We are waiting for Spanish soccer players to join. Playing football does not inhibit you from having an expression about human rights. It’s easy, we just want the Federation, clubs and soccer players to join the campaign for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. It is about giving your opinion about something that humanity resolved seventy years ago with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nothing more. The Equality Super Cup will not be such if you do not make an effort to do so and it is not enough just for women to go to the stadium. There were also many people in ’78 to see Kempes score goals, but underneath there was a huge repression.“Are protests expected from activists on Saudi soil?”– Saudi Arabia is so repressive that in the last four years it has ended all independent activists. They are in jail or on probation. There is no independent press, there is no political opposition … Who will protest in that context? There cannot even be an organized germ in defense of human rights. If someone is going to protest during the Super Cup, life is played …last_img

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