The outlet reported Saturday that Walid Fitaihi, a doctor with citizenship in both Saudi Arabia and the U.S., has been held since November 2017, when he was apprehended along with roughly 200 other individuals in a so-called corruption crackdown. There has been no trial for Fitaihi, let alone any public charges against him.
A friend of the physician told the Times that Fitaihi had suffered an approximately hourlong torture session during which he was hit, blindfolded, stripped, bound and shocked with electricity.
Reacting to the news, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) tweeted Saturday evening that he is “deeply troubled,” demanding Fitaihi’s release and recalling the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.
The White House has made no statement on the matter of Fitaihi’s alleged captivity.
Last week, Reuters reported that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner traveled to Saudi Arabia for a Tuesday meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss peace in the Middle East. A White House statement to Reuters on the conversation made no reference to Khashoggi, despite conclusions by U.S. intelligence that his killing was likely carried out at the behest of MBS himself.
Two days after Kushner’s meeting, Trump, who was in Hanoi, Vietnam, for summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gave remarks doubting the dictator’s role in the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, again signaling his friendliness to despots like MBS.
Warmbier had been imprisoned by Kim’s regime for months, subsequently being transported home in a vegetative state with severe head injuries and dying in 2017.