On Tuesday, members of the US Senate called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to work on liberating the US citizen of Saudi origin, Dr Walid Fitaihi, who is being tried by the Saudi authorities on “politicized” charges.
“It is very important for the US Democratic and Republican administrations to free United States citizens abroad,” said a statement sent by Democratic Senators: Bob Menendez, Patrick Leahy, Chris Murphy, Chris Van Houlin, and Ron Wyden.
The statement stressed that “Citizen Walid Fitaihi was imprisoned for nearly two years and unjustly tried.”
The senators said: “Hundreds of Saudi citizens were targeted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Fitaihi was arrested and tortured in this context,” asking Pompeo, who is expected to visit Saudi Arabia this week, “to lay down his position on the visit agenda. ”
They also demanded Pompeo “to work to lift the travel ban on Fitaihi and seven members of his family who are citizens of the United States, and we urge you to defend the rights of all those who were unjustly detained in Saudi Arabia, especially US citizens.”
خمسة ديمقراطيين بارزين بمجلس الشيوخ الأميريكي بعثوا رسالة لوزير الخارجية بومبيو يحثونه فيها على إثارة قضية د. #وليد_فتيحي على أرفع مستويات الحكومة السعودية خلال زيارته هذا الأسبوع للتوصل "لحل مستعجل وإيجابي"ورفع حظر السفر عنه وعن ٧ من عائلته كلهم يحملون الجنسية الأميريكية pic.twitter.com/oNvZTyleuh
— Wajd Waqfi وجد وقفي (@WajdWaqfi) February 18, 2020
Earlier, other members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to Pompeo and announced that they had made a similar call.
The Saudi American physician is being tried on vague charges related to his activities on social media and expressing his anger at the killing of peaceful demonstrators since the outbreak of the Arab Spring.
Fitaihi was detained by Saudi authorities for 21 months without charge or trial, amid reports that he was tortured inside the prison. Last August, the prosecution accused him of sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly criticizing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi; providing only a few vague tweets as evidence.
Fitaihi was released in August, amid speculation about the interference of the US administration in this regard. He is currently free, but still facing charges. The Saudi authorities have also re-imposed a travel ban on him and his family.