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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

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Technology

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AI and automation are receiving a boost during the coronavirus pandemic that in the short term is creating a new hybrid workforce rather than destroying jobs outright.

The big picture: While the forces of automation and AI will eliminate some jobs and create some new ones, the vast majority will remain but be dramatically changed. The challenge for employers will be ensuring workforces are ready for the effects of technology.