'So hurtful': New fallout over Greg Norman's 'misguided' Saudi remarks

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Pictured right is the fiancee of the late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and Aussie golf legend Greg Norman on the left.
The fiancee of the late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi has condemned Greg Norman's comments on Saudi Arabia. Pic: Getty

Greg Norman has been condemned by the fiancee of the late Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, over controversial comments he made about the Saudi-backed rebel golf competition he's spearheading.

Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments and has started a Saudi-funded breakaway league attempting to poach the world's top golfers from the PGA Tour.

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The Aussie golf legend's close ties with Saudi Arabia have come under scrutiny considering the country's appalling human rights record.

One of the Saudi regime's most notable crimes is the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi, a US resident who was kidnapped and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Norman this week tried to move on from the controversy by insisting that Saudi Arabia deserved the opportunity to atone for their sins.

"Look, we've all made mistakes and you just want to learn by those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward," the 67-year-old Norman said on Wednesday at an event to promote his tournaments.

Norman noted "the good that the country is doing in changing its culture."

Greg Norman's comments about Jamal Khashoggi have been slammed around the world. Image: Getty
Greg Norman's comments about Jamal Khashoggi have been slammed around the world. Image: Getty

The 67-year-old's comments sparked widespread backlash around the world, with the fiancee of the late Washington Post columnist telling the UK's Telegraph newspaper that Norman's comments were "so hurtful."

"Would you say that if it was your loved one? How can we go forward when those who ordered the murder are still unpunished, and continue to try to buy back their legitimacy?" Cengiz said.

"We should not fall for their wealth and lies, and lose our morals and common humanity. We should all be insisting on the truth and justice; only then can we look forward with hope and dignity."

Khashoggi, who had written critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had gone into the consulate to collect documents required for him to marry his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, and never came out.

Turkish officials said Khashoggi was killed and dismembered with a bone saw inside the consulate by a team of Saudi agents.

The group included individuals who worked for the Crown Prince's office. His remains have not been found.

Western intelligence agencies and the US Congress said an operation of such magnitude could not have happened without the knowledge of the crown prince.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative conference in 2018. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative conference in 2018. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

"I haven't had a personal conversation with (Crown Prince) MBS, I've never met the guy, but at the same time I do read that the Saudi government has made their statements and comments about it and they want to move forward," Norman had said.

Greg Norman slammed over misguided comments

Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK's Head of Campaigns, responded: "Greg Norman's remarks that the Saudi Government's brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its attempted cover-up were a 'mistake' are wrong and seriously misguided.

"Far from trying to 'move on', the Saudi authorities have attempted to sweep their crimes under the carpet, avoiding justice and accountability at every turn.

"The regime's human rights record is an abomination - from its murder of Khashoggi to recent mass executions and the situation for LGBTI+ people, which continues to be dire.

"The LIV Golf Invitational Series (being fronted by Norman) is yet one more event in a series of sportswashing exercises that the Saudi authorities are using to clean its blood-soaked image."

Last month, Saudi Arabia put 81 people to death in a mass execution that also drew international criticism.

When asked further about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, Norman said: “I got a lot of messages but quite honestly I look forward.

“I don’t look back. I don’t look into the politics of things. I’m not going to get into the quagmire of whatever else happens in someone else’s world. I heard about it and just kept moving on.

“This whole thing about Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi and human rights, talk about it, but also talk about the good the country is doing to change its culture.

“There’s not many countries that can stand up and be proud of that.

"They can’t be proud of their past - there’s a lot of countries in this world that have a cross to bear too - but they are looking after the younger generation.”

with agencies

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