Saad Ibrahim Almadi was detained and tortured for 14 tweets he posted over the last seven years, most of them criticizing government policies and alleged corruption.
A US citizen has been arrested in Saudi Arabia, tortured and sentenced to 16 years in prison for tweets he sent while in the United States, his son said Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia sentences U.S. citizen Saad Ibrahim Almadi @mohajer44 to 16 years in prison for tweets and following Saudi dissidents in twitter! pic.twitter.com/Sk4o4gQUh8
— محمد عزالدين (@MohamedEzzadin) October 18, 2022
Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a 72-year-old retired project manager living in Florida, was arrested last November while visiting family in Saudi Arabia and was sentenced earlier this month, his son Ibrahim told The Associated. Press.
It is worth mentioning that Almadi is a citizen of both Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel spoke to reporters in Washington and confirmed Almadi’s detention on Tuesday.
“We have consistently and intensively raised our concerns regarding the case at high levels of the Saudi government, both through channels in Riyadh and Washington, DC, and will continue to do so,” he said. “We have raised this with members of the Saudi government as recently as yesterday.”
It appeared to be the latest in a string of recent cases in which Saudis received lengthy jail sentences for social media posts critical of the government.
Saudi authorities have tightened their crackdown on dissent following the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who seeks to open up and transform the ultra-conservative kingdom, but has taken a tough line on any criticism.
A Saudi court recently sentenced a woman to 45 years in prison for allegedly harming the country through her social media activity. A Saudi doctoral student at the University of Leeds in England has been sentenced to 34 years for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents, a case that sparked international outrage.
Ibrahim says his father was detained for 14 “mild tweets” sent in the past seven years, mostly criticizing government policies and alleged corruption. He says his father was not an activist but a private citizen expressing his opinion while in the US, where free speech is a constitutional right.
President Joe Biden traveled to the oil-rich kingdom in July for a meeting with Prince Mohammed, in which he said he confronted him on human rights. His meeting, and a widely criticized fist bump, marked a sharp reversal from Biden’s earlier promise to make the kingdom a “pariah” for the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ibrahim said his father was sentenced to 16 years in prison on October 3 on charges of supporting terrorism. The father was also accused of not denouncing terrorism for the tweets that Ibrahim had posted.
His father also “got slapped in the face” with a 16-year travel ban. If the sentence is carried out, the 72-year-old would be 87 when released and barred from returning home to the United States unless he turns 104.
Ibrahim said Saudi authorities warned his family to keep quiet about the case and not to involve the US government. He said his father was tortured after the family contacted the State Department in March.
Ibrahim also accused the State Department of neglecting his father’s case by not declaring him a “wrongly detained” American, which would raise his case file.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.