ADDED ON: 11/07/2021

Furious LGBT+ football fans to protest Saudi-owned Newcastle United at Brighton showdown

11/6/21 | Pink News

LGBT+ football fans in Brighton will be demonstrating in support of a gay man jailed in Saudi Arabia when their team plays Newcastle United. The protest will target the Toon Army of travelling supporters outside the Amex Stadium’s away end and highlight the case of Suhail Al-Jameel. The 25-year-old was jailed two years ago for posting a picture on social media of himself shirtless and wearing leopard-print shorts. The popular gay influencer, with 170,000 followers on Twitter, said he was later charged with sharing nude photos online and faces three years behind bars. He later warned gay people to stay away from Saudi Arabia saying: “There is no place for you here, it is illegal to be who you are and it is sad.” The demonstration follows a protest by Crystal Palace fans at Newcastle’s last away game two weeks ago, following the Saudi Arabian £305m takeover of The Magpies The Premier League’s newest owners have a poor record on human rights, particularly in relation to the LGBT+ community with queer people facing the death penalty in the desert kingdom. Stuart Matthews, spokesman for the Brighton LGBT+ group, Proud Seagulls, said of Suhail’s case: “This is the reality of a harsh regime that’s hell-bent on suppressing all forms of free speech regardless of race, creed, colour or sexuality. Adam Crafton asked the club on Twitter: “If football is for everyone, can you ask your owners [six government ministers and the Crown Prince on PiF board] why a gay man, Suhail Al-Jameel, aged 25, is locked up in KSA simply after posting a shirtless photo? #FreeSuhail.” Last month’s takeover of Newcastle United was 80 per cent financed by Saudi Arabia‘s Public Investment Fund (PIF) which is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Waving the deal through, the Premier League said it had received legal assurances the Saudi state would not control Newcastle United, but the fans groups said this decision “made a mockery” of the Owners and Directors Test.


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