US citizen jailed for 16 years in Saudi Arabia over critical tweets
The American citizen imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for a year over tweets about an American journalist is now being forced to remain in the country in order to receive medical treatment in a prison hospital, his lawyer said on Sunday.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Jailed in a Saudi Arabian prison over critical tweets, a US citizen will stay in the kingdom for the next year to receive medical treatment, his attorney said on Sunday.
A prosecutor has rejected a request for the American’s immediate release, saying he has been sentenced to a year in prison with a 30-year sentence, reported the New York Times.
The sentence has sparked outrage in the US, where the journalist, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, was killed for daring to write an article critical of Saudi leadership.
His lawyer, Brad W. Hall, said that his client, who was arrested on Saturday, was being held in the prison hospital, and was receiving medical treatment.
“The man who had hoped to be released from prison was arrested in mid-air,” Hall said.
The lawyer, who is also a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said his client had previously been held on undisclosed charges for months and was not being held for a crime that had been previously announced in court proceedings.
“It’s important to note that if Jamal’s case was being pursued primarily for his writings, as we believe at this point, it was the authorities not only refusing to disclose a specific crime but refusing to disclose his location,” Hall told the New York Times.
“That is clearly not the case, and all of the charges were unrelated to Jamal’s writings,” he said. “There is a crime in the United States but they are keeping that secret. They have a specific reason to keep it secret.”
US government spokesman John Kirby said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia had failed to meet the criteria for releasing Americans jailed in the kingdom and were instead attempting to pressure him into turning over US citizen journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was last seen on October 2.
Kirby said there were