World Taekwondo Honors Controversial Saudi Ruler

World Taekwondo Honors Controversial Saudi Ruler
On Sunday, World Taekwondo, the governing body for Olympic style taekwondo, granted an honorary ninth degree black belt to Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia for the kingdom's support of taekwondo. The honorary black belt is sure to raise some eyebrows as Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has been linked to numerous human rights abuses and accused of being complicit in the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

The honorary 9th degree was presented by World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue and Kukkiwon President Dongsup Lee and received on behalf of Mohammed bin Salman by Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, who was also was honored with a 7th degree black belt. The move to honor the controversial Saudi Crown Prince comes just months after World Taekwondo was forced by international outcry to revoke the honorary 9th degree black belt they had once granted to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. In stripping Putin of his honorary black belt, they said his attack on Ukraine went against World Taekwondo's motto of “Peace is More Precious than Triumph.”

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