WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), along with U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), on Thursday released the following statement on the sentencing of an American citizen, Walid Fitaihi, in Saudi Arabia:
“We are appalled that Walid Fitaihi has been sentenced to six years in prison by a Saudi court on politically motivated charges. We have repeatedly called for the release of Dr. Fitaihi since his arrest in 2017, and supported Secretary Pompeo’s direct appeals to Saudi authorities to resolve his case. Unfortunately, the Saudi government has ignored these bipartisan appeals, despite clear implications for the U.S.-Saudi relationship,” the senators said.
The senators continued: “Fitaihi is a dual American-Saudi citizen who was sentenced, in part, for the supposed crime of obtaining U.S. citizenship without permission from the Saudi government. He was also sentenced for ‘offending foreign countries’ with his peaceful speech on Twitter, where he posted messages in support of democratic protests across the Arab world in 2011. The Saudi government should immediately release Dr. Fitaihi, lift the travel ban on his family, and drop these baseless and politically motivated charges. The persecution of American citizens, which also includes the ongoing detention of Salah al Haidar and Bader al Ibrahim, is unacceptable.”