US citizen sent to jail for tweeting against Saudi Arabia
Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a resident of Florida, was arrested at the airport when he went to visit relatives in Saudi Arabia. He was accused of making 14 controversial tweets against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the last seven years.
The United States has said on Tuesday that it has raised the issue of its citizen being sentenced to prison by a Saudi court before the Saudi government.
This new issue has become another reason for the recent escalation of tensions between the two historic allies.
The US State Department has confirmed the detention of Saad Ibrahim al-Madi, an American citizen of Saudi origin. And has said that the United States has raised this issue before the Saudi authorities on Monday.
Al-Madi’s son has also confirmed to the news agency AFP that his father has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for tweeting against the Saudi government.
Speaking to reporters, US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that we have consistently and strongly expressed our concerns about the case at the highest levels with the Saudi government through both Riyadh and Washington channels.
He added that the exercise of freedom of expression should never be criminalized.
According to the Washington Post, Al-Madi lives in Florida and went to Saudi Arabia in November to visit his family. But he was detained at the airport. Al-Madi has been accused of posting 14 tweets criticizing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the past seven years.
The Washington Post quoted al-Madi’s 72-year-old son Ibrahim as saying that a Saudi court sentenced him to 16 years in prison on October 3 and a further 16 years of travel restrictions.
Al-Madi’s son Ibrahim says his father tweeted about corruption in Saudi Arabia and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a ‘very soft tone’.
Ibrahim added that his father has been charged with supporting and financing terrorism and trying to destabilize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. State Department says no U.S. representative was present in court when al-Madi was sentenced. Saudi Arabia started the trial earlier than the date it had given for the trial.
Vedant Patel said that we had not received any message from Saudi Arabia till October 13.
It should be noted that Saudi Arabia has been continuously accused of violating human rights. Blogger and human rights activist Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison last March and received 50 lashes in public for posting alleged anti-Saudi content on his website.