A US citizen who was sentenced to 19 years in prison in Saudi Arabia for criticizing the authorities on Twitter has been released, his son told AFP on Tuesday.
Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a 72-year-old American of Saudi origin, was arrested in 2021 for tweets against the Gulf monarchy, according to his son Ibrahim who only saw "moderate"
Since his arrest, confirmed by the US State Department, Saudi authorities have not commented on the case.
Saad Ibrahim Almadi was sentenced in October 2022 to 16 years in prison, a sentence extended to 19 years last February on appeal, before his surprise release overnight from Monday to Tuesday, Ibrahim told AFP, reached by telephone. from the United States.
He was released five hours ago.
He is at home in Riyadh
,” he added.
According to him, Saad Ibrahim Almadi cannot leave Saudi territory due to a travel ban imposed on him last year.
His arrest came at a time when relations between Riyadh and Washington were already tense due in particular to disagreements on energy policy and the question of human rights.
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In 2022, the State Department said it had expressed its "
" to the Saudi government about this American, believing that "
the exercise of freedom of expression should never be criminalized
The kingdom has come under fire in recent months from human rights organizations for harsh sentences imposed on people who criticized the authorities on social media.
Ibrahim Almadi gave AFP a list of tweets last year that he said were used as evidence against his father.
These include posts about rising taxes, controversial demolition work in Saudi Arabia and the 2018 assassination of critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul.
Authorities also found an unflattering cartoon of the kingdom's crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, on Saad Ibrahim Almadi's phone, according to his son.