US lawmakers denounce Saudi court docket’s sentencing of US-Saudi physician | Saudi Arabia
A Saudi court this week sentenced Dr. Walid Fitaihi to six years in prison for US lawmakers saying they are “baseless and politically motivated”.
U.S. lawmakers have sentenced Saudi Arabia to six years in prison for convicting a prominent U.S. Saudi doctor, and the charges against Dr. Walid Fitaihi described as “unfounded and politically motivated”.
In a statement on Thursday, five Democratic US senators called on the Saudi authorities to immediately drop the charges and release Fitaihi and lift travel restrictions on his family.
“We are appalled that Walid Fitaihi has been sentenced to six years in prison by a Saudi court on politically motivated charges,” the senators said.
“The Saudi government should immediately release Dr. Fitaihi, lift the travel ban on his family and drop these unfounded and politically motivated charges.”
U.S. lawmakers and officials in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have repeatedly called for the release of Fitaihi, a two-time Saudi citizen and doctor from the Boston area who was one of several people involved in an anti-corruption investigation ordered by Saudi Arabia In 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was rounded up.
Human Rights Watch and The Freedom Initiative said Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court convicted Fitaihi on Dec. 8 “on vague allegations, largely related to his peaceful political views and statements”.
T.The groups said in a statement on Thursday that charges were gaining foreign citizenship without permission from the Saudi authorities, insulting other countries and their leaders, and “breaking allegiance to the ruler” by dealing with a “terrorist” Sympathize group.
“The Saudi authorities’ railroad against Dr. Walid Fitaihi on public charges shows that the government has no intention of easing the fight against peaceful critics,” said Adam Coogle, deputy director for the Middle East at HRW.
“The message to the Saudi citizens is clear that any view expressed that contradicts official Saudi domestic or foreign policy will lead straight to jail.”
Fitaihi, who is free pending appeal, and seven of his family members, who are also US citizens, have been banned from traveling since November 2017, the rights groups said, and the family’s assets have also been frozen since that year.
The case has caught the attention of Trump administration officials and U.S. lawmakers, the latter of whom have emphasized that Fitaihi’s continued detention could harm U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations.
However, the Trump administration has remained a staunch defender of Saudi Arabia and its de facto leader, the Crown Prince, despite rights groups calling for the Gulf Kingdom to be held accountable for its human rights record and the detention of activists.
The Saudi authorities’ railroad against Dr. Walid Fitaihi on public charges shows the government has no intention of easing the fight against peaceful critics.
In 2019, the New York Times reported that Fitaihi was allegedly tortured in Saudi custody.
Fitaihi said he was dragged from his room at Riad’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where he was detained, and then told a friend that he had “blindfolded, removed his underwear and tied it to a chair,” the newspaper said .
His son Ahmed also appealed to U.S. lawmakers last year to free his father.
“I’m sure you understand how confusing it is when this man is dragged, beaten, and electrocuted. That doesn’t make any sense, ”said Ahmed Fitaihi. “He has devoted his whole life to making people’s lives better.”