Saudi Arabia jails US citizen for 16 years over critical tweets
Saad Ibrahim Almadi, 72, was arrested in November while visiting his family in Saudia Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has sentenced a United States citizen to 16 years in prison over tweets that allegedly criticised the monarch government, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Saad Ibrahim Almadi, 72, was arrested in November while visiting his family in Saudia Arabia. He was sentenced on charges of terrorism on October 3, his family claimed.
Almadi holds both the citizenship of Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Almadi’s son, Ibrahim, told AP that his father was detained over 14 “mild tweets” that he had posted over the past seven years. In the tweets, Almadi criticised the policies of the Saudi government and alleged that it was corrupt.
Ibrahim also alleged that Saudi authorities warned his family against involving the United States government in the case. He added that his father was tortured after the family contacted the State Department in March.
State Department Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed Almadi’s detention but did not say what he was charged with, reported Reuters.
“We have consistently and intensively raised our concerns regarding the case at senior levels of the Saudi government, both through channels in Riyadh and Washington DC,” he said. “Exercising the freedom of expression should never be criminalised.”
Patel also claimed that the Saudi government did not provide any information to the US Embassy in Riyadh regarding Almadi’s hearing, according to Reuters.
“A request to attend the hearing was not answered until after it had taken place,” he claimed.
In August, a Saudi court had sentenced a doctoral student at Leeds University in Britain to 34 years in prison for spreading alleged rumours and retweeting dissidents, according to AP.
Salma Al-Shehab was detained during a family vacation in January 2021, just days before she planned to return to the United Kingdom.