https://nypost.com/2022/10/18/biden-sold-my-father-for-oil-says-son-of-saad-ibrahim-almadi/

WASHINGTON — The son of an elderly US citizen recently handed a 16-year, three-month prison sentence by Saudi Arabia for tweeting has told The Post he’s outraged at how President Biden and his deputies bungled the case.

“He sold my father for oil, that’s clear to us. Especially when we saw the news last week about how they requested to delay the OPEC [oil production cuts] decision a month [until after the election],” Ibrahim Almadi told The Post on Tuesday.

Biden visited the oil-rich kingdom in July without winning the release of 72-year-old Saad Almadi or even publicly mentioning the case. The elder Almadi was convicted and sentenced Oct. 3 — after the State Department failed to send a representative to observe proceedings.

“Biden just cares about votes. He doesn’t care about my father, he doesn’t care about American citizens,” Ibrahim added. “He got sold for oil, but they didn’t receive the oil. So there is no father, no oil. There’s nothing — there is only shame, that is what the White House has got now.”

Ibrahim Almadi told The Post he was encouraged by the US government to avoid seeking publicity — only to have officials do little to help. His father lived in the US since the 1970s and was detained in November 2021 during a visit to Saudi Arabia to sell property.

Saad Ibrahim Almadi, 72, was given a 16-year prison sentence in Saudi Arabia for tweets about the country.

Saad Almadi’s lengthy prison sentence, linked to 14 tweets, was first reported Monday night by the Washington Post and follows similarly harsh penalties given to Saudi residents who lack US citizenship — often for criticizing Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler.

“This is outrageous. A 72-year-old U.S. citizen was sentenced to 16 years in prison and subject to torture in *Saudi Arabia* for years-old tweets he posted while in the United States,” tweeted Sarah McLaughlin of the pro-free speech group the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

A State Department official confirmed to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin that the department failed to alert the US Embassy in Riyadh when the hearing date was changed to Oct. 3 and that “unfortunately, that information wasn’t passed [to the embassy]. That is something we deeply regret.”

The mixup was the latest in a series of stinging snubs experienced by US-based relatives of Almadi and at least three other US citizens, who are not imprisoned currently but are banned from leaving Saudi Arabia.

Biden visited the kingdom in the summer to smooth over relations with bin Salman after US gasoline prices hit all-time average highs of more than $5 per gallon in June.

Biden previously tried to sideline bin Salman over the US intelligence community’s conclusion that he ordered the 2018 operation that killed another Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. Although the president exchanged a fist bump with bin Salman, who is widely known by his initials, MBS, Saudi Arabia led the OPEC+ cartel in moving to cut oil production weeks later, embarrassing Biden.

“MBS is just challenging,” Ibhrahim Almadi told The Post. “He wants to see how far he can get with Biden. Let’s be honest: If I do something to you and you don’t put boundaries or react, guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to move forward with my abusive actions toward you.”

Before Biden’s trip, the younger Almadi said he called the White House switchboard almost every day from late May to try to speak with Stephanie Hallett, the National Security Council’s acting senior director for the Middle East and North Africa. At one point, a White House phone operator allegedly asked, “Why do you want to talk to someone who doesn’t want to talk to you?”

Biden greeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a visit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 15, 2022.
Biden greeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during a visit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15, 2022.
Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP
The son of an elderly US citizen imprisoned in Saudi Arabia blamed President Biden for not brining his father home.
The son of an elderly US citizen imprisoned in Saudi Arabia blamed President Biden for not bringing his father home.
Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

In August, after Biden’s visit, a State Department official allegedly laughed at Almadi’s complaint that his father, a registered Republican in Florida, would be unable to vote in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

“I am Democratic myself. I voted for Biden, which is a stupid mistake I did,” Ibrahim said. “My father’s a Republican registered voter. He wants to participate in the coming election. They laughed and said that your father should request a paper ballot.”

If Biden doesn’t consider it his job to help free US citizens held abroad like his father, Almadi added, he should “get the f–k out of the White House.”

Saad Ibrahim Almadi visited his homeland without thinking of his relatively benign tweets commenting on Saudi affairs, his son said.

The offending messages included writing that officials were unable to protect national borders amid rocket fire from Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, encouraging people to get Lebanese citizenship and endorsing the idea of naming a street after Khashoggi.

In contrast with Biden’s handling of Almadi’s case, the president has publicly advocated repeatedly for Russia to release professional basketball player Brittney Griner, who pleaded guilty in July to possessing a small amount of cannabis oil when she was detained at a Moscow airport in February. The administration also recently won the negotiated released of dual US-Venezuelan citizens from Caracas.

Ali al-Ahmed, whose cousin, Dr. Bader al-Ibrahim, is not allowed to leave Saudi Arabia despite facing no criminal charges, also told The Post he’s frustrated with the Biden administration.

Almadi's son Ibrahim Almadi said Biden
Almadi’s son Ibrahim Almadi said Biden “sold my father for oil.”
Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

“They should discriminate between Brittney Griner or Saad Almadi or others. If this man was in Russia or Iran or Venezuela, I think [Biden] would have spoken strongly and acted strongly,” said al-Ahmed, a longtime US-based analyst of Saudi affairs and president of the Committee for American Hostages in Saudi Arabia.

“If they can get seven Americans out of Venezuela and raise hell about Griner, this was the easy case,” al-Ahmed said.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington and the White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment.

A White House official in July defended the Biden administration’s performance and insisted that Biden privately raised their cases during his visit to the kingdom.

“President Biden is aware of the cases of four US citizens subject to travel bans in Saudi Arabia. Members of his team met recently with representatives and family members of individuals in this status,” the official said. “The president also raised their cases with the Saudi government during his recent visit. We will continue to press at the highest levels for these travel bans to be lifted.”

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