American woman released from Saudi Arabian jail after two-day detention over tweets critical of the kingdom

Saudi authorities released an American woman they held in custody since Monday in relation to a long-running custody dispute involving her daughter and ex-husband.

"US citizen Carly Morris has been released in Saudi Arabia & reunited with her daughter," the Freedom Initiative, which has remained involved in the case, posted on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Morris initially confirmed to the Agence France-Press that she was freed overnight and that she had been jailed for two days "over my tweets." She said she had taken her daughter from school as soon as she was released, but that her ex-husband took all of her belongings – including clothing – while she was in custody, claiming that he "took everything."

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 guardianship leans heavily in the father’s favor, which allows the father to insist that his daughter remains with him. The kingdom itself placed Morris under a travel ban to prevent her and her daughter from leaving since her arrival in 2019.

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

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Police in the city of Buraidah on Monday summoned Morris to the station and kept her there until Wednesday regarding tweets she posted in which she warned other women and children against visiting Saudi Arabia. She insisted that she was held with her daughter "against our will" in a hotel under "extreme and dire circumstances."

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State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed Wednesday that the embassy in Riyadh was "very engaged" on the case and "following the situation very closely,"

"We’re aware of the reports that Ms. Morris has been detained," Price told reporters. "Of course, the safety, the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas is the highest priority we have at the Department of State. We take our role in assisting U.S. citizens abroad extremely seriously."

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that "We are aware of media reports of 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 on Wednesday, but stressed that she is not "truly free."

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

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

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.