Saudis sentence U.S. citizen to 16 years over tweets: Family

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates –


An American citizen has been arrested in Saudi Arabia, tortured and sentenced to 16 years in jail over tweets he despatched whereas within the United States, his son mentioned (*16*).


Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a 72-year-old retired challenge supervisor residing in Florida, was arrested final November whereas visiting household within the kingdom and was sentenced earlier this month, his son Ibrahim instructed The Associated Press, confirming particulars that had been first reported by the Washington Post. Almadi is a citizen of each Saudi Arabia and the U.S.


There was no speedy remark from Saudi officers.


State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel, talking to reporters in Washington, confirmed Almadi’s detention (*16*).


“We have persistently and intensively raised our issues relating to the case at senior ranges of the Saudi authorities, each via channels in Riyadh and Washington DC as effectively and we’ll proceed to achieve this,” he mentioned. “We have raised this with members of the Saudi authorities as not too long ago as yesterday.”


It appeared to be the most recent in a sequence of current instances by which Saudis acquired lengthy jail sentences for social media posts essential of the federal government.


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


A Saudi courtroom not too long ago sentenced a lady to 45 years in jail for allegedly damaging the nation via her social media exercise. A Saudi doctoral scholar at Leeds University in England was sentenced to 34 years for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents, a case that drew worldwide outrage.


Ibrahim says his father was detained over 14 “delicate tweets” posted on Twitter over the previous seven years, largely criticizing authorities insurance policies and alleged corruption. He says his father was not an activist however a personal citizen expressing his opinion whereas within the U.S., the place freedom of speech is a constitutional proper.


President Joe Biden traveled to the oil-rich kingdom in July for a gathering with Prince Mohammed, by which he mentioned he confronted him about human rights. Their assembly — and a broadly criticized fist-bump — marked a pointy turnaround from Biden’s earlier vow to make the dominion a “pariah” over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.


Ibrahim mentioned his father was sentenced to 16 years in jail on Oct. 3 on prices of supporting terrorism. The father was additionally charged with failing to report terrorism, over tweets that Ibrahim had posted.


His father was additionally slapped with a 16-year journey ban. If the sentence is carried out, the 72-year-old can be 87 upon his launch and barred from returning dwelling to the U.S. until he reaches the age of 104.


Ibrahim mentioned Saudi authorities warned his household to keep quiet in regards to the case and to not contain the U.S. authorities. He mentioned his father was tortured after the household contacted the State Department in March.


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


“They manipulated me. They instructed me to keep quiet to allow them to get him out,” Ibrahim mentioned, explaining his choice to go public this week. “I’m not keen to take of venture on the Department of State anymore.”

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