American woman released from Saudi Arabian prison after two days in detention for tweets critical of the kingdom


Saudi authorities released an American woman they had held in custody since Monday in connection with a lengthy custody dispute involving her daughter and ex-husband.

“US citizen Carly Morris was released in Saudi Arabia and reunited with her daughter,” the Freedom Initiative, which became involved in the case, posted on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Morris initially confirmed to Agence France-Press that she was released overnight and jailed for two days “for my tweets”. She said she took her daughter away from school as soon as she was released, but that her ex-husband took all of her things, including her clothes, while she was in custody, claiming that she ” he took it all. ”

Morris traveled to Saudi Arabia for what she intended to be a short visit to allow her 8-year-old daughter, also an American citizen, to meet her ex-husband’s family.

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But the Saudi code of protection leans heavily in favor of the father, which allows the father to insist that his daughter stay with him. The kingdom itself has imposed a travel ban on Morris to prevent her and her daughter from leaving when she arrives in 2019.

Saudi women walk past jewelers at the Taiba gold market in the capital Riyadh on April 30, 2020, after the partial lifting of the curfew.

Saudi women walk past jewelers at the Taiba gold market in the capital Riyadh on April 30, 2020, after the partial lifting of the curfew.
(Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP via Getty Images)

Buraidah City Police summoned Morris to the station on Monday and kept her there until Wednesday regarding the tweets she posted warning other women and children not to visit Saudi Arabia. She insisted that she was being held with her daughter “against our will” in a hotel in “extreme and terrible circumstances”.

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State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed Wednesday that the embassy in Riyadh was “very busy” on the case and “following the situation closely.”

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony and air show to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of King Faisal Air College in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony and air show to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of King Faisal Air College in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017.
(REUTERS / Faisal Al Nasser)

“We are aware of reports that Ms. Morris has been detained,” Price told reporters. “Of course, the security, well-being of US citizens overseas is the top priority we have at the State Department. We take our role very seriously in assisting US citizens overseas.”

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that “We are aware of media reports on the release of Carly Morris. Due to privacy concerns, we have no further comment.”

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The Freedom Initiative applauded Morris’s release Wednesday, but stressed that she is not “truly free”.

“While we welcome the news of her release last night, Carly is not truly free,” Initiative added. “She remains under a travel ban. She and her daughter must be allowed to return home safely to the United States.”

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has increasingly included Western-based US and Saudi citizens in a general crackdown on those the government views as rivals or critics. In August, a Saudi court sentenced a 72-year-old Saudi-American, Saad al Madi, to 16 years in prison for critical tweets he had posted over the years from his Florida home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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