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We are disappointed by the reports that a Saudi court has upheld the 20-year prison sentence followed by an equal length travel ban for Saudi aid worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.  We have closely monitored his case and are concerned by allegations that Mr. al-Sadhan was subjected to mistreatment, that he has been unable to communicate with family members, and that his fair trial guarantees were not respected.  As we have underscored to Saudi officials at all levels, the peaceful exercise of universal rights should never be a punishable offense.

We will continue to elevate the role of human rights in our relations with Saudi Arabia and to encourage legal reforms that advance respect for human rights of all individuals.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future