Boxing star Joshua avoids remark in Saudi as tweeter jailed


Boxer Anthony Joshua declined to touch upon human rights in Saudi Arabia as information broke Wednesday {that a} lady had been jailed for 34 years over her Twitter exercise, days earlier than his world heavyweight combat in Jeddah.

Joshua, who has been primarily based in Saudi Arabia forward of Saturday’s unification bout with Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine, mentioned individuals appeared “cool” within the kingdom and that he most popular to keep away from “negative” speak.

“I’m here enjoying Saudi Arabia now we’re all here loving the positive side of things. Don’t focus on anything that’s negative. I’ve had a great time,” he advised AFP.

“What I experienced is only what I can talk about. I’m not on the internet researching, digging and digging and digging. I’m sure if you want to find that stuff out you have to dig.”

As Joshua was making ready for his combat, it emerged {that a} Saudi lady learning in Britain was jailed for 34 years — with an extra 34-year travel ban — for posting messages on Twitter.

The Saudi appeals court docket sentenced Salma al-Shehab, 34, on August 9 for tweets that aided dissidents searching for to “disrupt public order” within the kingdom, in response to court docket paperwork seen by AFP on Wednesday.

The sentence comes as a part of a widespread crackdown rights activists within the conservative Sunni Muslim nation, lots of whom have been slapped with jail sentences and travel bans.

Saturday’s “Rage on the Red Sea” is considered one of a collection of high-profile occasions which were accused of “sportswashing” — or utilizing sports activities occasions to melt a rustic’s picture.

“For me, what I experienced from face-to-face conversations from people from around the world, Saudi isn’t just full of Saudis. Saudi has a lot of tourism and people have migrated here. They seem cool,” Joshua mentioned.

“My thing, I’ve been on the streets and I’ve met people on the streets and it’s been positive for me personally.”

Other Saudi sports activities occasions, together with Jeddah’s Formula One grand prix, the controversial LIV golf tour and Joshua’s 2019 combat towards Andy Ruiz Jr, have attracted related criticism.


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