Amnesty International calls on Ronaldo to address Human Rights in KSA
A researcher at Amnesty Middle East says that Cristiano Ronaldo should not allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of Saudi sportswashing.
Portugal's football star Cristiano Ronaldo was urged to openly address the human rights issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after he recently joined the Saudi Al Nassr football club.
Ronaldo last Friday signed for Al Nassr until June 2025 in a deal believed to be worth more than 200 million euros.
The 37-year-old is expected to appear before fans on Thursday, an official from the Al Nassr club told AFP earlier.
History in the making. This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves. Welcome @Cristiano to your new home @AlNassrFC pic.twitter.com/oan7nu8NWC— AlNassr FC (@AlNassrFC_EN) December 30, 2022
Ronaldo heads to the Gulf after a year that saw him relegated to the bench for Portugal and parting ways with Manchester United after the Portuguese star gave an explosive TV interview in which he said he felt "betrayed" by the club and had no respect for coach Erik ten Hag.
The English club terminated his contract while Ronaldo was with Portugal at the World Cup.
Amnesty International considered his signing as part of a "wider pattern of sportswashing" in the kingdom.
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"Instead of offering uncritical praise of Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo should use his considerable public platform to draw attention to human rights issues in the country," stated Dana Ahmed, a researcher at Amnesty Middle East.
"Saudi Arabia regularly executes people for crimes including murder, rape, and drug smuggling. On a single day last year, 81 people were put to death, many of whom were tried in grossly unfair trials," Ahmed said.
"The authorities are also continuing their crackdown on freedom of expression and association, with heavy prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders, women's rights activists, and other political activists," she added.
The researcher believed that "Cristiano Ronaldo should not allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of Saudi's sportswashing. He should use his time at Al Nassr to speak out about the myriad of human rights issues in the country."
Only hours after Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo penned a two-year contract with Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr club, crowds flocked to a football kit store in Riyadh to buy the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's new club jersey.
An unprecedented rush at the Al Nassr kit store started as soon as reports of the deal were leaked to the local press on Friday night - hours before the official announcement.