After more than a year in captivity, Saudi Arabia has released a US citizen who was in prison for some tweets. This was announced by the family of the imprisoned Saad Almadi. According to his son Ibrahim Almadi, Saudi Arabia has dropped the allegations against his father. There had been rumors about the release for the past week.
The 72-year-old Saad Almadi was sentenced to 16 years in prison last October for "supporting terrorism". He has both American and Saudi Arabian citizenship. Almadi, who resides in the United States with his family and is retiring to Florida, was arrested at the Riyadh airport while arriving on a home visit.
The background was 14 tweets that Almadi had published over a period of seven years. In it he repeatedly criticized the political situation in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. Criticism of the head of state King Salman ibn Abd al-Aziz and his son, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, is forbidden and will be severely punished. This is also the case with Almadi, the 72-year-old had tweeted a caricature of the crown prince, among other things. After the arrest, his son protested in an interview with the "Washington Post" that his father even had "mild opinions about the government".
Nevertheless, the regime in Saudi Arabia sentenced him to 16 years in prison. At the time, Ibrahim Almadi accused the US government of not doing enough to protect his father's rights. Now the prison sentence has apparently been lifted. However, a 16-year travel ban was also part of the verdict – it is still unclear whether this sentence was also lifted. According to his son, Saad Almadi is currently staying with family members in Riyadh.
Sources: AP / "Washington Post"