Saudis release US woman arrested for Twitter posts, family says

Saudis release US woman arrested for Twitter posts, family says
Carly Morris, a 34-year-old US citizen who was arrested for alleging that she and her daughter were being held in Saudi Arabia since 2019, has been released from jail.
2 min read
10 November, 2022
Morris has reportedly been released from custody [Getty/file photo]

A US woman who had been detained in Saudi Arabia after taking to Twitter to allege that she and her daughter were trapped in the kingdom was released on Wednesday, according to her family. 

Carly Morris, 34, was detained for "destabilising public order", according to the BBC. She has been banned from leaving the country after her release. 

Morris, a Muslim convert, had travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2019 so that her daughter, Tala, could meet the family of her father, Morris' ex-husband, in the Gulf kingdom. 

Her ex-husband had reportedly obtained a Saudi passport for his daughter without Morris' permission, meaning the child could not leave the country without his consent under Saudi Arabia's strict male guardianship laws. 

Morris alleges that she and her daughter's passports were confiscated by Saudi authorities and they have both been living in a hotel since 2019. 

She posted a statement on Twitter warning other women and children not to travel to the country, after she was summoned to a public prosecutor’s office and arrested for "destabilising public order", according to The Guardian.

US officials on Tuesday had said they were aware of Morris' detention, saying the US Embassy in Riyadh was "very engaged" in her case. 

The New Arab has reached out to the US State Department and the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment. 

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Saudi Arabia has a history of handing out hefty jail terms and travel bans to those perceived to be criticising the country on social media.

In September, 50-year-old Noura al-Qahtani was sentenced to 45 years in prison for "spreading lies through tweets". A month earlier, Saudi academic and women's rights activist Salma al-Shehab who was visiting the country was handed a 34-year jail term, for "her writing and peaceful Twitter activity", according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has documented the cases of 40 human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia being banned from leaving the country for periods ranging from five to 35 years, as well as 39 cases of unofficial travel bans that affect the relatives of activists.