The speaker of the United States House of Representatives has expressed her deep concerns about the alleged abuse of a Saudi aid worker in Saudi Arabian detention.
According to a statement released by the US State Department on April 6, the humanitarian worker, Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, was detained by Saudi authorities in March 2018 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by a 20-year travel ban.
He was detained at the Riyadh office of the Red Crescent Society, where he worked.
Nancy Pelosi, the chamber’s leading Democrat, said in a tweet that Congress will watch his appeal hearing, which she said was on Monday, as well as “all human rights abuses by the regime.”
“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,” Pelosi tweeted.
Al-Sadhan’s sister, on the other hand, reported his health was deteriorating.
“We are very worried about my brother’s safety and health, deteriorating under torture in Saudi detention, while we remain completely deprived of any contact with him,” Areej al-Sadhan wrote on Twitter.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the country’s de facto ruler, is said to have pushed to crush dissent in recent years while implementing social and economic changes aimed at modernizing the Kingdom, according to observers.
Al-Sadhan was charged with “funding terrorism,” “supporting or sympathizing with the ISIL (ISIS) armed group,” and “preparing, storing, and sending messages that would prejudice public order and Islamic values,” according to the Geneva-based advocacy NGO MENA Rights Group in an April statement.