U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was deeply concerned about the alleged torture of a Saudi aid worker while in detention in Saudi Arabia.
Pelosi added that Congress will monitor the appeal hearing of activist Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, scheduled for Monday, and “all human rights violations committed by the regime”, and that she is “Deeply concerned with allegations of torture in detention of aid worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan. His sentencing continues Saudi Arabia’s assault on freedom of expression”.
On April 6, a US State Department stated that the Saudi authorities arrested Al-Sadhan from the headquarters of the Red Crescent Society’s office in Riyadh in March 2018, and a court sentenced him to 20 years in prison and banned him from traveling for another 20 years.
“We will continue to monitor this case closely in any appeal process,” the US State Department statement said in Arabic.
“Freedom of expression, as we have told Saudi officials at all levels, should not be a crime punishable by law,” and “We will continue to strengthen the role of human rights in our relations with Saudi Arabia, as well as encourage legal reforms that respect the human rights of all individuals,” the State Department added.
Areej, Al-Sadhan’s sister, confirmed that her brother’s health is deteriorating, saying “We are very concerned about my brother’s safety and health, which is deteriorating under torture while he is in detention in Saudi Arabia, and we are completely deprived of any contact with him.”
According to Saudi human rights organisations; Al-Sadhan was put on trial for running two Twitter accounts that provided satirical content, in which the authorities accused him of financing terrorism, supporting or sympathizing with the “Islamic State” organisation, and preparing, storing, and sending messages that “harm public order and religious values.”
Al-Sadhan’s family confirmed that he suffered severe torture during his detention, including “electric shocks, beatings resulting in broken bones, flogging, suspension by his feet and in painful positions, death threats, beheadings, cursing, and verbal insults.”