Brighton and Hove Albion LGBT fans plan protest at Newcastle game

LGBT fans in Brighton will be demonstrating in support of a gay man jailed in Saudi Arabia when their team plays Newcastle United on Saturday.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:55 pm
New owners, Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan (l) and Amanda Staveley, part-owner of Newcastle United prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) SUS-210511-152841001

LGBT fans in Brighton will be demonstrating in support of a gay man jailed in Saudi Arabia when their team plays Newcastle United on Saturday.

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 gays 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 (6 govt 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” #free Suhail”

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns, said:“Football has its own issues with racism and other hate speech, but fans have a perfect right to voice concerns about serious human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

“The greater the spotlight on Saudi human rights violations, the better. If fans around the country are speaking about Saudi beheadings, about alleged Saudi war crimes in Yemen or the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, then that’s a useful way of getting basic facts about Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record out into the wider world.”