American woman Carly Morris was detained in Saudi Arabia for saying in Twitter that she and her young daughter had been lured to the kingdom and trapped there since 2019.
It was back in 2019 when US citizen, 34-year-old Carly Morris, travelled to Saudi Arabia to visit her young daughter and take her back out of the kingdom.
Since then, however, she and her 8-year-old daughter have been taken into Saudi Arabia’s custody due to an objection from her Saudi ex-husband, Morris said in a tweet last week.
Upon knowing about the content of the tweet, Saudi police summoned Morris to a police station in the north-central city of Buraida and has yet to be released by Saudi authorities. Saudi police allegedly placed Morris herself under one of its widely imposed travel bans, barring her from leaving the country.
U.S. officials said Saudi authorities had confirmed the detention of Morris, whose efforts to leave the kingdom with her daughter have been made more difficult by Saudi Arabia’s strict male guardianship laws. Morris in recent months had spoken to reporters and tweeted about her circumstances.
“Our embassy in Riyadh is very engaged on this case, and they’re following the situation very closely,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in Washington on Tuesday.
In her controversial tweet, Morris warned other women and children not to visit Saudi Arabia due to security reasons. In the tweet, she said she and her daughter had been held “against our will” in a hotel under “extreme and dire circumstances”, where they faced “extended social isolation” since 2019 when he first entered the kingdom.
“We have spent the past three years under these conditions and deprived of our basic human rights and our lives stolen from us. For over three years I have attempted to seek help from every government office and authority. My situation has downplayed, neglected, and mishandled.” Morris said in her Twitter statement.
The Saudi embassy in Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to an email from the Associated Press seeking comment.
Morris, the third American detained in Saudi Arabia
Human rights activists at the Washington-based Freedom Initiative, a group which has followed Morris’s story, said Morris was the third American being held in detention in Saudi Arabia.
“Morris’ detention means that we’re now aware of three Americans behind bars in Saudi Arabia, yet another sign that Saudi simply does not value the US as an ally,” said Allison McManus, the Freedom Initiative’s research director. “Before we hear any more reference to Saudi’s strategic partnership, we need to see an end to the abuse of American citizens. We need to see an end to the abuse of women and children whose only crime is their gender.”
Another American, Saad Ibrahim Almadi, 72, who was returning to his native Saudi for a vacation, was arrested in November 2021 and recently sentenced to 16 years in prison for tweeting critically about the kingdom
Besides Americans, citizens of other countries have been dealing with the same problem when traveling to the kingdom.
In one case, for example, a 34-year-old mother named Salma al-Shehab, who was completing her PhD at Leeds University was detained by Saudi Arabia after she returned to her native country for a short vacation. Al-Shehab was convicted and sentenced to decades in prison simply for following and liking anti-government tweets while she was living in the UK.