Mar 21, 2023 - World

Saudi Arabia releases American imprisoned for tweets about MBS

 A billboard shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman hanging over a highway on June 20, 2018 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A billboard shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (L) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz displayed above a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

U.S.-Saudi dual national Saad Ibrahim Almadi has been released from prison in Saudi Arabia over a year after he was detained for posting tweets critical of the kingdom's rulers.

Yes, but: The 72-year-old is still under a Saudi imposed travel ban that prohibits him from returning home to Florida.

The big picture: Almadi was arrested in November 2021 and sentenced last October to 16 years in prison over the tweets about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom U.S. intelligence officials concluded was killed in an operation authorized by MBS — a conclusion Saudi officials rejected.

  • An appeals court last month increased Almadi's sentence to 19 years, per the BBC.

What they're saying: State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel welcomed Almadi's release during a briefing on Wednesday, but declined to comment on the travel ban, saying "each country is going to have its own sovereign laws and each case is different."

  • Abdullah Alaoudh, Saudi director at the U.S.-based group Freedom Initiative, said in a statement he's "relieved" Almadi has been released, but added that "he should have never spent a day behind bars for innocuous tweets."
  • He urged U.S. officials to press for the lifting of travel bans and the release of other prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
  • The detained man's son, Ibrahim Almadi, issued a statement following his father's release saying he hoped they could be reunited in Florida soon.
A screenshot of a tweet by Ibrahim Almadi saying he hopes he and his father Saad Ibrahim Almadi could be reunited in Florida soon now he's been released from Saudi prison..
Photo: Ibrahim Almadi/Twitter
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