Protesting the latest deal in which the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund purchased 80% of Newcastle United Football Club, a van with photos of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman drove by St James' Park on Sunday.
Shortly before Newcastle United FC played their very first game since the Saudi deal, a vehicle made a political statement that appeared critical of the latest club sale to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
I don't care about football, but I do care about the takeover of a Premier League football club by a brutal murderous dictatorship that kills and murders people who disagree with it, worship differently or who don't follow their required sexual preferences. Normalised fascism. https://t.co/KHFEMjYxqp— WholesomePaul ? (@wholesomepaul) October 17, 2021
Besides photos of Jamal Khashoggi and Mohammad Bin Salman, who is widely believed to have directly ordered the killing and dismemberment of the Washington Post's columnist, the message that showed on the van read "Jamal Khashoggi, murdered 2.10.18." The message also included the hashtag #JusticeForJamal.
The van message comes at a time Newcastle United FC faces lots of local criticism for the deal which has been perceived as "a Saudi attempt to sport-washing the Khashoggi crime." Moreover, the gesture comes exactly three years since the murder which Saudi authorities insist on describing as a "premeditated death" that is "completely condemned by the Saudi Crown Prince."
Our poster outside St James’ Park ahead of the first game under their new ownership. Thanks to everyone who gave to the crowdfunded to make this happen and help ensure that MBS cannot sportswash away human rights abuses. #justiceforjamal pic.twitter.com/pGzysPLrWT— Blair McDougall (@blairmcdougall) October 17, 2021
For many years, Mohammad Bin Salman has faced allegations of direct involvement in the killing that took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi government had denied reports of harming Jamal Khashoggi for several days after he was last seen entering the consulate.
Yet, Turkish police reports eventually cited videos and audio files that prove that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi intelligence officers minutes after arriving at the consulate where he was seeking official paperwork.
When a #JamalKhashoggi poster is driven by and is mentioned to me by the Newcastle fan I’m interviewing. The video exchange and written story here on the start of a new era for #nufchttps://t.co/vkARLGQOhj pic.twitter.com/6t7sPk9oqW— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) October 17, 2021
In November 2018, an official CIA report concluded that Mohammed Bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's assassination.