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2 American activists jailed in Saudi Arabia return home after travel ban

Dual citizens Salah al-Haidar and Bader al-Ibrahim are back on US soil, but the Biden administration is still pushing for the release of several other Americans held under travel bans.
Can be credited "Courtesy of the Middle East Democracy Center"

WASHINGTON — Two Americans held in Saudi Arabia on charges roundly regarded as arbitrary, whose release was sought by the Biden administration, quietly returned to the United States in the past year, Al-Monitor has confirmed.  

Dual citizens Salah al-Haidar and Bader al-Ibrahim were among a group of writers, activists and intellectuals who were rounded up in April 2019 as part of a crackdown on dissent overseen by Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Many of those detained had links to the women's rights movement or had written about social issues. 

Haidar, a writer whose mother, Aziza al-Yousef, is a prominent women’s rights activist, and Ibrahim, a doctor and author of a book on Shiite Muslim politics, spent nearly two years in prison while facing trial in Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court for terrorism-related charges related to their activism.  

Haidar and Ibrahim were released from Riyadh’s Al-Ha’ir prison in February 2021 in what was seen as a goodwill gesture to the Biden administration some two weeks after it took office with a pledge to put human rights at the center of its foreign policy. 

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