Case against may have roots in elaborate ploy that began in Silicon Valley and sparked a federal case against two Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia

 A court in Saudi Arabia upheld a 20-year prison term imposed on a Saudi aid worker who had criticized the government on Twitter, drawing a rare public rebuke from the U.S. in another sign of tension between the Biden administration and the kingdom.

The ruling, confirmed late Wednesday, also upheld a 20-year travel ban on Abdulrahman al-Sadhan after his release.

The case against him may have roots in an elaborate ploy that began in Silicon Valley and sparked a federal case against two Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia. The men allegedly accessed the user data of over 6,000 Twitter accounts, including nearly three dozen usernames the kingdom had wanted disclosed.

Al-Sadhan’s family has said his identity appears to have been among those leaked to Saudi authorities as the person behind an anonymous Arabic Twitter account that had amassed a large following and was critical of the government.

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