Saudi Arabia frees US citizen imprisoned over critical tweets, son says

Saudi Arabia frees US citizen imprisoned over critical tweets, son says

Saad Ibrahim Almadi freed after spending year-and-a-half behind bars, says Ibrahim Almadi

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Saudi Arabia has freed a dual US-Saudi national it had imprisoned for tweets critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his son confirmed Tuesday.

The State Department said in October that it raised concerns about Saad Ibrahim Almadi directly with the Kingdom after he was taken into custody in November 2021. He was sentenced in October to 16 years in prison.

Ibrahim Almadi, the senior Almadi's son, said his father remains in Saudi Arabia after being "kidnapped" in the Kingdom "because he had peacefully expressed himself online while here in the U.S."

"For that simple exercise of his rights, he spent over one year and a half behind bars, enduring torture and neglect," Almadi said in a statement. "Finally, our nightmare has come to an end. Dad was released last night and has been cleared of all charges. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many U.S. government officials who pressured for my dad's release. Your words and actions made a difference."

Almadi, 72, was taken into custody when he traveled to Saudi Arabia to visit family, the Washington Post newspaper reported in October. At issue are 14 tweets he posted in the past seven years, including some that address Jamal Khashoggi, the Post's contributor who was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The State Department has maintained Almadi was "wrongfully detained," adding that "freedom of expression should never be criminalized."


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