A Saudi appeals court has increased this week the prison sentence of the US citizen Saad Almadi for critical tweets to 19 years.
The court’s revised penalty came as a slap in the face of US President Joe Biden, who earlier vowed to improve the human rights conditions in the Saudi Kingdom.
Biden has earlier pledged to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state over the Kingdom’s poor human rights record especially following Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, but in fact, Biden has made human rights a “pariah” file. He has put “US interests” over “US values.”
Saad Almadi, a 72-year-old retired engineer, has lived in the US since the 1970s and is a naturalized American citizen. He was arrested in November 2021 while returning to his homeland to sell family property.
In October 2022, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison, followed by 16 years of house arrest over critical tweets.
Well-informed sources affirmed that the Saudi prosecution charged Almadi over 14 ‘offending’ tweets
Saad Almadi’s tweets included remarks over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, and Saudi failure to protect national borders from rocket fire by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Almadi’s family expressed dissatisfaction over the US administration’s failure to follow-up Almadi’s case.
Almadi is not the first Saudi citizen living abroad to be arrested once arrived home. The Saudi researcher and doctoral student Salma Al-Shehab was detained upon her return and sentenced to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents.
Saad Almadi’s son, Ibrahim, said his father — who had nearly 2,000 followers on Twitter — had been arrested after being reported on the Saudi app, Kollona Amn, or We Are All Security.
Te Saudi Snitching App Kollona Amn was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to suppress the opponent voices, letting ordinary people “play the role of a police officer.”
In this regard, we call for the immediate release of Saad Almadi and investigation into the violated he was subjected to during his detention.