Saudi Arabia sentences U.S. citizen to sixteen years in jail over tweets, household says

A U.S. citizen has been arrested in Saudi Arabia, tortured and sentenced to sixteen years in jail over tweets he despatched whereas inside the usa, his son mentioned Tuesday.

Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a seventy two-12 months-previous retired undertaking supervisor dwelling in Florida, was arrested final November whereas visiting household inside the dominion and was sentenced earlier this month, his son Ibrahim Almadi advised The associated Press, confirming particulars that have been first reported by the Washington submit. Almadi is a citizen of each Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

There was no instantaneous remark from Saudi officers.

talking at a press briefing, U.S. State division deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed Almadi’s detention and mentioned Washington first raised its factors with Riyadh in December 2021, as quickly as a consequence of it was made aware of the arrest.

“now we have consistently and intensively raised our factors relating to the case at senior ranges of the Saudi authorities … and we’ll proceed to take movement. now we have raised this with members of the Saudi authorities as just these days as yesterday,” Patel mentioned.

He did not say what Almadi was charged with however mentioned: “Exercising the liberty of expression ought to by no means be criminalized.”

14 ‘delicate tweets’ over 7 years: son

It appeared to be the latest in a collection of latest circumstances all by which Saudis acquired prolonged jail sentences for social media posts vital of the federal authorities.

Saudi authorities have tightened their crackdown on dissent following the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who’s in search of to open up and rework the ultraconservative kingdom however has adopted a sturdy line in direction of any criticism.

A Saudi court docket just these days sentenced a woman, Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani, to forty five years in jail for allegedly damaging the nation by her social media exercise. A Saudi doctoral pupil at Leeds college in England, Salma al-Shehab, was sentenced to 34 years for spreading “rumours” and retweeting dissidents, a case that drew worldwide outrage.

WATCH | U.S. discovering out 34-12 months sentence for women’s rights activist: 

U.S. discovering out 34-12 months jail sentence for Salma al-Shehab in Saudi Arabia

Advocating for the rights of women ought to ‘by no means be criminalized,’ mentioned State division spokesman Ned worth whereas confirming the U.S. is discovering out the case of women’s rights activist Salma al-Shehab, who was sentenced in Saudi Arabia to 34 years in jail.

Ibrahim says his father was detained over 14 “delicate tweets” despatched over the previous seven years, principally criticizing authorities insurance coverage policies and alleged corruption.

He says his father was not an activist however a private citizen expressing his opinion whereas inside the U.S., the place freedom of speech is a constitutional proper.

Biden’s go to marked turnaround

U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to the oil-rich kingdom in July for a gathering with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, all by which he mentioned he confronted him about human rights.

Their meeting — and a broadly criticized fist-bump — marked a sharp turnaround from Biden’s earlier vow to make the dominion a “pariah” over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist and Washington submit columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, proper, greets U.S. President Joe Biden with a fist bump after his arrival at Al-Salam palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15. (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/The associated Press)

Ibrahim mentioned that on Oct. three, his father was sentenced to sixteen years in jail on costs of supporting terrorism. the daddy was additionally charged with failing to report terrorism, over tweets that Ibrahim had posted.

He mentioned his father was additionally slapped with a sixteen-12 months journey ban. If the sentence is carried out, the seventy two-12 months-previous can be 87 upon his launch and barred from returning dwelling to the U.S. till he reaches the age of 104.

Ibrahim mentioned Saudi authorities warned his household to hold quiet with reference to the case and to not contain the U.S. authorities. He mentioned his father was tortured after the household contacted the State division in March.

Ibrahim additionally accused the State division of neglecting his father’s case by not declaring him a “wrongfully detained” American, which may elevate his file.

“They manipulated me. They advised me to hold quiet to allow them to get him out,” Ibrahim mentioned, explaining his decision to go public this week. “i am not eager to take a raffle on the division of State anymore.”

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