Saudi Arabia releases 72-year-old US citizen sentenced to 19 years for tweets critical of kingdom
Saudi Arabia has not acknowledged Almadi's release, but it is normal for the kingdom to pardon inmates before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia has released a 72-year-old U.S. citizen from prison for tweets critical of the kingdom and cleared him of all related charges, his son said Tuesday.
Officials freed Saad Almadi on Monday evening after the Florida resident was arrested in November 2021 while visiting family in Saudi Arabia and put in prison for over a year.
For 485 days, Almadi faced "torture and neglect" in the Saudi prison, his son Ibrahim Almadi said.
It is unclear whether Saudi Arabia will drop Almadi's travel ban to allow him to fly home to Florida, according to the Associated Press . For now, he is staying with family members in the country's capital city of Riyadh.
When he was originally arrested, Saudi officials confronted Almadi with years-old tweets about the kingdom's alleged human rights abuses, including the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Airing these opinions resulted in a 16-year prison sentence, which an appeals court later increased to 19 years.
Saudi Arabia has not acknowledged Almadi's release, but it is normal for the kingdom to pardon inmates before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which starts there Thursday.