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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:
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Sep 22, 2021 - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE next week

Sullivan. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is planning to travel to the Middle East next week, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. He would be the most senior Biden administration official to visit the kingdom.

Why it matters: Sullivan's first trip to the region since taking office is expected to include stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, sources briefed on the plans tell Axios. All three countries are longtime U.S. partners who have faced some early tensions with Biden.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.