Sep 13, 2021 - World

Pelosi "deeply concerned" about Saudi aid worker torture allegations

 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 8
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she's "deeply concerned" over allegations that an aid worker in Saudi Arabia has been tortured while in detention.

Driving the news: Pelosi's call comes ahead of an appeal hearing in Red Crescent Society worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan's criminal case, due to be held Monday.

  • He was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by a 20-year travel ban, per an April statement from the U.S. State Department expressing concern about his imprisonment — which the MENA Rights Group said was in response to him running two satirical Twitter accounts.

The big picture: Al-Sadhan disappeared after being arrested at the Red Crescent Society office in Riyadh in March 2018, according to the MENA Rights Group.

  • The rights group alleges that he was "subjected to severe torture and sexual harassment while held in a secret location during his first year in detention."
  • This includes "electric shocks, beatings that caused broken bones, flogging, hanging from the feet and suspension in stress-positions, threats of murder and beheading, insults, verbal humiliation."
  • His sister Areej al-Sadhan tweeted her thanks to Pelosi for her support:
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