(CNN) — The US State Department said, on Tuesday, that it “welcomes” the news of the Saudi authorities’ release of a Saudi citizen who holds American citizenship, Saad Ibrahim Al-Madhi, from prison, but did not go into further details.
“We are aware of these reports and welcome them, but I cannot go into any further details,” said Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Department, Vedant Patel. “The safety of US citizens abroad is the State Department’s top priority.”
The son of Saad Ibrahim Al-Madhi confirmed, to CNN, that his 72-year-old father had been released from prison more than a year after his arrest due to tweets criticizing the Saudi government.
Ibrahim Al-Madhi, who resides in the United States, added that his father was released at two o’clock on Tuesday morning, local time in the Kingdom.
He added that his father is currently in Riyadh under a travel ban, considering that he is “not free until he is in the United States.”
Neither Saudi nor US officials immediately confirmed Saad al-Madi’s release, and it remains unclear whether the kingdom will lift its travel ban to allow him to return to the United States.
CNN has reached out to the Saudi government for comment, with no response yet.
In October 2022, the US State Department said that Saad Ibrahim Al-Madhi was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, after he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for tweets criticizing the Saudi government.
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