Saad Ibrahim Almadi: Saudi Arabia releases US man jailed over tweets
Saudi Arabia has released a US citizen from prison more than a year on from his conviction over tweets critical of the government.
Saad Ibrahim Almadi, 72, who also has Saudi citizenship, was arrested in November 2021 when he arrived in Riyadh to visit his family.
He was sentenced last year to 16 years in prison for tweets he posted while in the US.
Neither the US nor Saudi authorities have commented on Mr Almadi’s release.
His son, Ibrahim, confirmed his father was at a family residence in Riyadh but it was not clear when he might return to his home in Florida.
“All charges have been dropped but we have to fight the travel ban now,” Ibrahim told Reuters news agency.
Mr Almadi was found guilty by a Saudi court of trying to destabilise the kingdom and of supporting and funding terrorism. He was also issued with a 16-year travel ban.
His sentence was increased to 19 years by an appeals court last month.
Speaking about the case publicly for the first time last year, Ibrahim told the BBC that the only evidence finally presented to the court against his father had consisted of 14 tweets.
The tweets, which the BBC saw, included criticism of the demolition of old parts of the cities of Mecca and Jeddah, concern over poverty in the kingdom and a reference to the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr Almadi was also found guilty of not reporting terrorism over tweets that Ibrahim had posted on a separate account, according to his son.
US President Joe Biden said he had raised Mr Almadi’s case, and those of other US citizens who remained under a travel ban in Saudi Arabia, during meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when he visited last July.
The visit, almost four years after the killing of Mr Khashoggi, saw Mr Biden press for more oil supplies and seek help to isolate Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.