FILE PHOTO: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, September 8, 2021. Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
September 12, 2021
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that she was “deeply concerned” about the alleged torture of a Saudi aid worker while under house arrest in Saudi Arabia.
According to an April 6 US State Department statement, aid worker, Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, was detained by Saudi authorities in March 2018 and sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by a 20-year travel ban. Was.
In a tweet, Pelosi, a Democrat, said Congress would oversee the hearing of his appeal, which he said on Monday, and “all human rights abuses by the regime.”
“The custodial torture allegations of aid worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan are deeply concerned. His sentence continues Saudi Arabia’s attack on freedom of expression,” Pelosi tweeted.
The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Pelosi’s tweet.
Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has proceeded to quell dissent, introducing social and economic reforms to modernize the kingdom. Saudi authorities have detained senior royals, activists, intellectuals and clerics.
In an April statement, the Geneva-based advocacy NGO MENA Rights Group said al-Sadhan was charged with running two satirical Twitter accounts and financing terrorism, supporting or sympathizing with the Islamic State terrorist group, and preparing, storing and sending a lawsuit. was run. Messages that “will adversely affect public order and religious values.”
The group also said that al-Sadhan’s family learned that he had been subjected to severe torture in custody, including “electric shocks, beatings, broken bones, whipped, hanging by the legs and straining.” The situation included suspension, threats of murder and beheading, insults, verbal insults.”
(Reporting by Arshad Mohamed; Editing by Peter Cooney)