Aliya al-Huweiti was already a celebrity in Saudi Arabia when she critised the regime.
This is her story about the threats, the pressure, and the fear she experienced after the criticism.
LONDON/OSLO (Dagbladet): It was late in the afternoon one day in July 2018. The famous jockey Alya al-Huweiti was terrified.
There were six men with her in the room at the Saudi Arabian embassy in London, according to al-Huweiti: The Ambassador among them.
The Embassy, where she had worked for three years, was closed for the day. They were the only ones left.
When she arrived in London in 2011, she was already a celebrity in her home country. Dating back to 1996, she had been a respected and prize-winning jockey. In 2005, she trained the first female Saudi horse racing team. Now, she claims, the authorities wanted to use her status for all it was worth.
We have also tried to reach the former Ambassador’s other known place of work – without success.
According to Alya al-Huweiti, the following took place:
“The Ambassador tried to persuade me to change what I had tweeted about. I was terrified. They wanted me to support the Yemeni war and stop criticizing the regime. They kept me in there from 14.30 to 17.00; the Embassy itself closed at 15.00. They consistently noted down everything I said. They let me out when I promised to give in and delete my Twitter messages”, says Alya al-Huweiti to Dagbladet.
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