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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images

Walid Fitaihi, a Harvard-educated physician and dual citizen of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, is one of dozens of prisoners arrested in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's infamous corruption crackdown who claim they have been tortured, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Fitaihi, who has been detained since November 2017, reportedly told a friend that he underwent an hourlong electric shock session after being "slapped, blindfolded, stripped to his underwear and bound to a chair." His status as an American citizen poses a diplomatic challenge to President Trump, who has repeatedly touted his record of freeing Americans detained abroad while also equivocating on the human rights abuses of the Saudi kingdom — including the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  • Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally that the Trump administration views as key to securing Middle East peace. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met with Mohammed bin Salman this week for the first time since U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly determined that he was responsible for Khashoggi's assassination.
  • Saudi officials denied any mistreatment or torture of prisoners to the Times.

On Sunday afternoon, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN that Fitaihi is being detained: "We can confirm that U.S. citizen Walid Fitaihi is detained in Saudi Arabia, we are providing him consular services, and we have raised his case with the Government of Saudi Arabia."

Go deeper: Saudi leaders deflect blame on day of Khashoggi sanctions deadline

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
24 mins ago - Economy & Business

Clash of the central bankers

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Bloomberg, Samuel Corum (Stringer)/Getty Images

While Fed chair Jerome Powell is brushing off the seismic rise in government bond yields and a corresponding decline in stock prices, a group of central bankers in the Pacific are starting to take action.

Driving the news: Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament on Friday the BOJ would not allow yields on government debt to continue rising further above the BOJ's 0% target.

Biden expresses support for Amazon workers' union vote in Alabama

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a union vote by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama in a two-minute video posted on Twitter Sunday, though he did not name the tech giant specifically.

Why it matters: A vote by workers at the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union would make the facility the first Amazon warehouse to unionize in the U.S., per NPR. The election will run through March 29.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Miami mayor: Bitcoin's appeal is that governments can't manipulate it

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is pushing to make bitcoin a part of his city's economic future, and in an interview with "Axios on HBO," he pushed back against the economic orthodoxy of people like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who say it's a bad idea.

Why it matters: Miami's inclusion of bitcoin as a way to pay city employees or as part of the city's emergency cash holdings, as Suarez has proposed, would add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency and further entrench it in the U.S. economic system.