The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

Saudi Government Sentences U.S. Citizen to 16 Years in Prison for Anti-Regime Tweets Posted from U.S.


Axios (Shawna Chen) reports, as does an opinion piece in the Washington Post (Josh Rogin) (paywalled). From the Post:

[L]ast November, when [American citizen Saad Ibrahim Almadi] traveled to Riyadh to visit family, he was detained regarding 14 tweets posted on his account over the previous seven years. One of the cited tweets referenced Jamal Khashoggi, the Post contributing columnist who was murdered by Saudi agents in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Other tweets criticized the Saudi government's policies and the corruption in the Saudi system.

And from Axios:

The State Department confirmed Tuesday that … Almadi remains imprisoned in Saudi Arabia after he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for posting tweets critical of the Saudi government….

Almadi was charged with harboring a terrorist ideology, trying to destabilize the kingdom, as well as supporting and funding terrorism. He was also charged with failing to report terrorism, a charge related to tweets Ibrahim sent on a separate account.

The Guardian (Stephanie Kirchgaessner) adds:

[Almadi's son] expressed intense frustration with the US government's handling of his father's case. After months of maintaining his silence – he claims at the US government's behest – he accused the US of poorly managing the crisis. The US government has also not designated Almadi's case as involving an American being "wrongfully detained", a designation that would give the case a higher priority within the US bureaucracy.