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HomeWorldSaudi Arabia releases US national Almadi from prison: Family

Saudi Arabia releases US national Almadi from prison: Family


Saad Ibrahim Almadi was jailed for 19 years for posts on Twitter criticizing the government after landing in Riyadh in November 2021.

Saudi authorities have released a US citizen jailed for posting criticism of the government on Twitter, but he is still not allowed to travel, his son said, as the kingdom takes steps to improve ties with the United States.

Saad Ibrahim Almadi, 72, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by a criminal court in 2022, before an appeals court upped his sentence to 19 years last month.

His son, Ibrahim, has now said his father was home with his family in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

“All charges have been dropped, but we now have to fight against the travel ban,” said Ibrahim.

Neither Saudi nor US officials immediately confirmed Almadi’s release.

Almadi, a dual US-Saudi citizen living in retirement in Florida, was arrested after landing in Riyadh in November 2021 on several charges, including financing “terrorism” and destabilizing the kingdom.

His case, along with those of other US citizens who remain under travel bans in Saudi Arabia, had added to the already strained relationship between the two traditional allies.

Tricky issues

US President Joe Biden said he raised the issues during meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when he visited Saudi Arabia in July.

In October, Biden promised there would be consequences for Riyadh after the OPEC+ oil alliance, led by Saudi Arabia and which includes Russia, decided to cut production targets.

However, both sides have been working on improving ties recently.

The kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into an effort to transform and open up its economy and reduce its dependence on crude oil.

The reforms were accompanied by a series of arrests of critics of Crown Prince Mohammed, as well as businessmen, religious leaders and human rights activists.

Last week, Saudi state television showed prisoners facing up to 15 years in prison after publishing critical messages on Twitter.

Two Saudi women were sentenced last year to 45 and 35 years on charges including “using the internet to tear apart the social fabric”.

Abdullah Alaoudh, Saudi director of the Freedom Initiative, said Almadi’s release showed that US pressure had been effective.

“There are far too many people in detention in Saudi Arabia who don’t have the benefits of US citizenship to draw attention to their cause,” he said.

“Almadi’s release shows that strategic pressure is working, and US officials must continue to press for the release of detainees and the lifting of travel bans,” he added.

This month, Democratic and Republican US senators introduced a resolution that could lead to a reassessment of security support for the kingdom based on its track record.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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