Politics, Americas

Pompeo urged to press Saudis to resolve case of doctor

Arrested in November 2017, Dr. Walid Fitaihi, a dual Saudi-American citizen, was released pending trial last July

Servet Günerigök   | 19.02.2020
Pompeo urged to press Saudis to resolve case of doctor

WASHINGTON

A group of Democratic senators urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday to raise the case of a detained Saudi-American doctor with government officials when he visits Saudi Arabia later this month. 

Arrested in November 2017, Dr. Walid Fitaihi was released pending trial last July. The Saudi government has reportedly seized the American passports of the doctor's wife and six of his children.

Fitaihi is “being tried on vague charges linked to his social media activity expressing outrage over the killing of peaceful protesters since the Arab Spring,” according to Human Rights Watch.

The senators include Bob Menendez, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senators Patrick Leahy, Chris Murphy, Chris Van Hollen and Ron Wyden.

The Saudi government imposed a travel ban on Dr. Fitaihi and his family.

"We ask you to urge a positive and prompt resolution of the ongoing court case against Dr. Fitaihi and a lifting of the travel ban imposed on him and seven members of his family, all of whom are U.S. citizens," the senators wrote in a letter addressed to Pompeo.

"It has been a consistent priority of the United States—throughout Democratic and Republican administrations—to free Americans abroad from unjust detention," they said.

Pompeo will visit Riyadh from Feb. 19-21 to discuss regional and bilateral issues with the Saudi leadership, including Iran, Yemen and human rights.

The senators also urged him to advocate for the rights of those "unjustly detained" in Saudi Arabia.

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