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Pelosi ‘deeply concerned’ about alleged Saudi torture of aid worker

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addresses reporters during her weekly press conference on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Pelosi announced that a select committee on the January 6th attack will be formed.
Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is “deeply concerned” over allegations that an aid worker currently held in Saudi Arabia is being tortured ahead of an appeal hearing in his criminal case set for Monday. 

“Deeply concerned with allegations of torture in detention of aid worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan,” Pelosi said in a statement on Twitter. “His sentencing continues Saudi Arabia’s assault on freedom of expression. Congress will monitor Abdulrahman’s appeal hearing tomorrow, as well as all human rights abuses by the regime.”

In 2018, Abdulrahman al-Sadhan was arrested at his office at the Saudi Red Crescent Authority and disappeared, according to MENA Rights Group

The human rights group said his family learned that in his first year of detention, he was subjected to abuses including verbal humiliation and electric shocks. Since then, Pelosi, his family and others have raised concerns about his well-being.

The legal nongovernmental organization said that earlier this year al-Sadhan was tried for running two satirical Twitter accounts. Under the country’s anti-terrorism and anti-cybercrime laws, he was accused of “preparing, storing and sending what would prejudice public order and religious values,” “funding terrorism” and “support and sympathy for ISIS,” the MENA Rights Group noted. 

The State Department noted in April that he had been sentenced to 20 years in jail followed by a travel ban also spanning 20 years. 

Al-Sadhan has an appeal hearing scheduled for Monday, according to The Associated Press.

“We are very worried about my brother’s safety & health, deteriorating under torture in Saudi detention, while we remain completely deprived of any contact with him,” al-Sadhan’s sister, Areej, tweeted on Sunday.

The Hill has reached out to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for comment.

Tags Abdulrahman al-Sadhan Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Saudi Arabia State Department
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