American Arrested In Saudi Arabia For Critical Tweets Released

( – A 72-year-old Saudi-American dual citizen was freed from Saudi prison after being locked for over a year in the kingdom for some tweets that were critical of the crown. Saad Almadi was released on Monday, March 20th into the care of his family in Riyadh, it remains unclear when he’ll be allowed to fly home to Florida where he normally lives.

U.S. and Saudi officials were mum on the subject as of early Tuesday morning, U.S. officials had worked to achieve Saad’s release over the last several months. Almadi’s son announced his father’s release and said that the Saudi government has dropped all charges against his father. It still remains unclear when Saad will return to the U.S., and whether or not a travel ban will be lifted.

Saad was originally arrested while visiting family, the 72-year-old Florida native was confronted by the state security service with tweets that stated his opposition shortly after entering the kingdom for what should have been a 2-week vacation to visit family in 2021. His tweets were critical of the consolidation of power under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as the killing of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi by their state security apparatus.

For his ‘crimes’ (read as tweets), he was sentenced to 16 years in prison, the tweets being considered akin to acts of terrorism against the state. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have a tight relationship where the U.S. provides military support and security to the kingdom in exchange for their constant output of oil.

Ibrahim Almadi has worked tirelessly to secure his father’s release. He lobbied the Biden administration to declare his father was wrongfully detained.

Abdullah Alaoudh is the Saudi director for Freedom Initiative, a U.S. non-profit that lobbies for the release of unjustly detained people in the Middle East. He was “relieved” to hear of Almadi’s release, calling his tweets “innocuous” he urged the U.S. to continue to fight for the release of others who are still behind bars.

Freedom Initiative listed four other U.S. citizens as well as one permanent resident who was arrested in Saudi Arabia, these typically include older dual citizens who advocate for more western-style freedoms in the kingdom.

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