Pelosi 'deeply concerned' over allegations of torture ahead of Saudi aid worker's appeal
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned that she is "deeply concerned" about the reported torture of a humanitarian aid worker imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for allegedly running an anonymous social media account.
In a tweet on Sunday, Pelosi, a Democrat, said Congress would monitor his latest appeal hearing, set to take place on Monday, and "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.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment by the time of this article's publication.
A 'brutal' and 'appalling injustice'
Ahead of his last scheduled appeal in August, which was postponed, Pelosi warned Saudi authorities that Washington was "closely" monitoring human rights abuses in the kingdom.
'We are very worried about my brother’s safety & health, deteriorating under torture in Saudi detention'
- Areej al-Sadhan, sister of Abdulrahman
Sadhan's sister, Areej, thanked Pelosi on Sunday for her "continuous attention & support" for their family and human rights work in general.
"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," Areej tweeted.
Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has moved to crush dissent while introducing social and economic reforms to modernise the kingdom. Saudi authorities have detained senior royals, activists, intellectuals and clerics.
In an April statement, Geneva-based advocacy NGO MENA Rights Group said Sadhan was brought to trial for having run two satirical Twitter accounts and accused of funding terrorism, supporting or sympathising with the Islamic State group, and preparing, storing and sending messages that "would prejudice public order and religious values".
The group also said Sadhan's family had learned he was subjected to severe torture in detention, including "electric shocks, beatings that caused broken bones, flogging, hanging from the feet and suspension in stress-positions, threats of murder and beheading, insults, verbal humiliation".