The son of a US citizen who was jailed in Saudi Arabia has slammed the Biden administration’s attempts to free his father after his prison sentence was lengthened by an extra three years.
Saad Almadi has seen his time behind bars lengthened from 16 years to 19 years after he was imprisoned for a series of tweets criticizing the Saudi government.
The political prisoner’s son Ibrahim slammed the handling of his father’s case after the US State Department told him his father would spend even longer in prison.
He told The Post: ‘It’s not a slap in the face, it’s a middle finger.
‘When the US asked for an appeal, they said: “Here you go, 19 years!”
Saad Almadi was imprisoned after he posted a series of tweets criticizing the Saudi government
The political prisoner’s son Ibrahim, left, has hit out at the Biden administration’s efforts to free his father
Ibrahim has suggested President Biden, left, has failed in his attempts to free his father during talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, right
He noted that his father has lost ‘more than 80 pounds’ behind bars, after an arrest which was triggered when he targeted the Saudi regime in a series of tweets.
The social media posts that led to his arrest included condemnations that the Saudi government was unable to protect its borders from rockets fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, a group allied with Iran.
He also posted support for naming a street after murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post reporter whose death was allegedly orchestrated by the Saudi government.
Almadi, a 72-year-old retired project manager who was living in Florida, was arrested in November 2021 while visiting family in Saudi Arabia after he published the tweets.
The White House has made several remarks hitting out at Almadi’s treatment, however President Biden has not directly commented on it and has been accused of taking a soft stance with the Saudi regime.
Ibrahim pointed to the recent release of WNBA star Brittney Griner as he criticized the Biden administration’s efforts to free his father.
He particularly hit out at the State Department’s refusal to officially condemn Almadi’s case as ‘wrongfully detained’, a move that would increase pressure on the Saudi government to release him from prison.
‘The only way for my father to get out is through ‘wrongful detention’, he said.
‘That’s how [WNBA star] Brittney Griner got out …. that’s what works with dictators.’
The White House says it has made steps to free Almadi, and in a White House press briefing on October 19, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said his case was a ‘priority’ for the administration.
‘The Saudi government understands the priority we attach to resolving this matter,’ she said.
‘Exercising the freedom of expression should never be criminalized.’
A week after Jean-Pierre’s remarks, the US government’s stance was reiterated by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
He told reporters: ‘We respect and understand and sympathize with the anguish (of Almadi’s family). We continue to work on these cases all around the world, as much as we can.’
However, the prisoner’s son implied that the US government has taken too soft a stance against the Saudi government to ensure his father’s release.
He said: ‘Using a carrot doesn’t work with (Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman), he only works with a stick.’
Saad Almadi’s son has suggested the White House has taken a soft stance on his father’s detention in Saudi Arabia
After Biden failed to pressure the crown prince when the two met last year, Ibrahim accused the president of ‘selling’ his father for oil.
He also suggested that former President Donald Trump would have already secured his father’s freedom.
‘We are at a time when we sweep our American values and human rights values under the carpet … because we care about interest in our oil,’ Ibrahim said.
‘I think the United States, the strongest country in the world, can protect our interests in the region and release my father. We can do both.’
Speaking directly to President Biden, the younger Almadi issued a stark call to action.
He said: ‘Mr. President, we can protect our interests in that region and we can protect our senior American citizen taxpayer too.
‘My father needs to be declared wrongfully detained and released from prison or otherwise his blood will be on your hands.’
Following Biden’s visit to the kingdom last year, where he received backlash after he was pictured sharing a fist-bump with the crown prince, Ibrahim again lashed out at the president for his role in his father’s detention.
He told The Post at the time: ‘Biden just cares about votes. He doesn’t care about my father, he doesn’t care about American citizens.
‘He got sold for oil, but they didn’t receive the oil. So there is no father, no oil. There’s nothing — there is only shame, that is what the White House has got now.’
Following Almadi’s sentencing in November 2021, a US State Department spokesman told a press briefing that the US government attempted to push the Saudi government to release him.
They said that the US has ‘consistently and intensively raised our concerns regarding the case at senior levels of the Saudi government, both through channels in Riyadh and Washington, D.C.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk