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Lionel Messi unveiled as new Saudi Arabia tourism ambassador

Lionel Messi has been unveiled as Saudi Arabia’s new tourism ambassador.

The Argentinian soccer icon - who plays as a forward for French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain - travelled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Monday (09.05.22), where he took part in an event with Saudi’s tourism minister Ahmed Al Khateeb.

It was during his visit that Ahmed appointed him and revealed the good news of his position via social media.

Ahmed Al Khateeb said on Twitter: “I am pleased to welcome Lionel Messi to Saudi Arabia.

“We are excited for you to explore the treasure of the Red Sea, the Jeddah Season and our ancient history. This is not his first visit to the Kingdom and it will not be the last.”

Messi has previously been warned to reject the position from prisoners of the country.

A letter written by families of prisoners of conscience shared by The Independent in February 2021 read: “You are an inspiration to millions and what you say and do really matters. To put it bluntly – you have enormous power, but with that power comes great responsibility.

“The Saudi regime wants to use you to launder its reputation. Prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, sexually assaulted, and held in prolonged solitary confinement – often for months at a time – on an industrial scale.

“Women’s rights campaigners, reformist preachers, Shia activists, democracy campaigners, indeed anyone who criticises or even questions the regime can face long-term imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty.

“If you say ‘yes’ to Visit Saudi you are in effect saying yes to all the human rights abuses that take place today in modern Saudi Arabia. But if you say ‘no’ you will send an equally powerful message – that human rights matter, that decency matters, that those who torture and murder do not do so with impunity. The world must stand up to those who trample on others.”

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