By Megan Mayernik
Dr. Walid Fitaihi, a dual citizen of Saudi Arabia and the U.S., has “reportedly been beaten, tortured and jailed” in Saudi Arabia as of March 3. Fitaihi is a physician who came to the U.S. for schooling and work, reported CNN.
According to The Washington Post, Fitaihi was reportedly grabbed from his room at the Ritz Carlton, “slapped, blindfolded, stripped to his underwear, bound to a chair, shocked with electricity and whipped so severely” that he was unable to sleep on his back for some time.
Howard Cooper, Fitaihi’s lawyer, stated that Fitaihi is a well-known motivational speaker who became recognized in Saudi Arabia for advocating ideas of civil rights and equality, according to CNN. He is also the founder of a medical center in Jeddah, The Washington Post reported.
Fitaihi was detained in November of 2017 in a supposed corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia. He still “remains imprisoned without any public charges or trial,” according to The New York Times.
Fitaihi’s lawyer has written to the State Department saying that the doctor “is in fear for his life, that he cannot take his situation any longer and that he desires all possible help.”
Fitaihi is not alone. In fact, about 200 prominent Saudis were detained with him in 2017 and he is one of dozens who remain in prison, according to The New York Times.
According to The New York Times, the fact that Fitaihi is an American citizen and is being held captive and tortured under the command of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should force President Donald Trump to take action.
According to U.S. intelligence agencies, the crown prince ordered the killing of the Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Trump administration’s public silence about the incarceration of Fitaihi seems to contradict the president’s boasts about his successful efforts to extricate American citizens held abroad, according to Fitaihi’s American friends.
The New York Times stated that at the end of January, when Saudi Arabia announced the end of its corruption purge, they notified that 64 people were “still being held for prosecution on new or pre-existing criminal charges.” Fitaihi’s friends said that they believe he is one of them.