Pompeo to raise case of US doctor on trial in Saudi Arabia

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Feb. 19 hat he planned to raise U.S. concerns about human rights during a visit to Saudi Arabia, in particular the case of a Saudi-American doctor facing trial there who was barred from leaving the kingdom and allegedly tortured.

Pompeo was scheduled to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 19 and will remain there until Feb. 21, before departing to Oman, a close U.S. ally that has ties with both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Pompeo said that during his time in Saudi Arabia, he will speak with the kingdom's leadership about security issues, threats posed by Iran, the economic relationship between the two countries, and issues of human rights.

When asked by a reporter whether he would specifically raise the case of Saudi-American doctor Walid Fitaihi, Pompeo said: "I'm sure I'll bring up that issue and a wide range of human rights issues, as well."

"In each of the visits I've had to the kingdom during my time both as CIA director and as secretary of state, we raised these important issues, these issues that matter a lot to the American people," Pompeo said.

A day before Pompeo was scheduled to arrive in Saudi Arabia, the two lead Congressmen in the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote to Pompeo to urge him to raise the case of Fitaihi with Saudi government officials.

Fitaihi, a Boston-area physician, was detained in Saudi Arabia in November 2017 during an unprecedented anti-corruption crackdown initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that targeted senior princes, ministers and businessmen. Some 200 people were detained in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh for weeks, and even months, and forced to sign over billions of dollars in assets to the government during the shakedown, which...

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