Dual Citizen of US and Saudi Arabia Sentenced to 16 Years in Saudi Prison Over Tweets
A dual Saudi-American citizen who was arrested last year in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 16 years in prison as well as a 16-year travel ban, nearly a year after being arrested over tweets he sent while in the United States that were critical of the Saudi government. Saad Almadi, 72, has been tortured in prison, his son told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Almadi was arrested in November while visiting Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post first reported. Almadi was charged with “harboring a terrorist ideology, trying to destabilize the kingdom, as well as supporting and funding terrorism,” according to the Post. He reportedly had been detained over 14 tweets posted in the past seven years, which criticized Saudi government policies and alleged corruption. The US State Department on Tuesday confirmed the detention of Almadi. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said Washington first became aware of Almadi’s detention in December. “We have consistently and intensively raised our concerns regarding the case at senior levels of the Saudi government,” Patel said, adding that the department had raised the issue with the Saudi government as recently as Monday. The US Embassy in Riyadh did not receive confirmation of the sentencing hearing until after it took place, he said. The last consular access that the embassy had with Almadi was in early August, with the previous contact six months earlier, Patel told reporters. The sentencing took place on October 3, according to Almadi’s son, Ibraham. He said that he went public with his father’s detention this week after remaining silent at the direction of the State Department.