Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 2-Bond stayed for ex-Twitter employee accused of spying for Saudi Arabia

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 09-11-2019 06:58 IST | Created: 09-11-2019 06:38 IST
UPDATE 2-Bond stayed for ex-Twitter employee accused of spying for Saudi Arabia
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

A ruling by a U.S. judge granting bond on Friday to a former Twitter employee accused of spying for Saudi Arabia has stayed after U.S. prosecutors said they appealed the decision. Magistrate Judge Paula McCandlis, of the U.S. District Court in Seattle, granted Ahmad Abouammo, 41, bond with travel restrictions while he awaited trial. But the ruling has stayed after prosecutors lodged an appeal, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office for the Western District of Washington said in an email.

Abouammo's lawyer, Chris Black, earlier said that an appeal would mean his client would remain in detention until a District Court judge made a ruling on McCandlis' decision. Abouammo was arrested on Tuesday and indicted on spying charges the next day, along with Ali Alzabarah, 35, another former Twitter employer, and Ahmed Almutairi, 30, who worked for the Saudi royal family.

The indictment points a public finger at Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally with warm ties to President Donald Trump despite what Amnesty International calls its restrictions on human rights and the "extrajudicial killing" of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The charges put Silicon Valley companies in the spotlight over how they protect user information, including from employees with no reason for accessing the data.

According to the complaint, Abouammo repeatedly accessed the Twitter account of a prominent critic of the Saudi royal family in early 2015. In one instance, he was able to view the email address and telephone number associated with the account. Abouammo also accessed the account of a second Saudi critic to get information. Twitter uncovered Alzabarah's unauthorized access of private data and placed him on administrative leave in late 2015, but not before he had tapped data from over 6,000 accounts, 33 of which Saudi authorities submitted law enforcement requests on, the complaint said.

Almutairi is accused of acting as a go-between for the Saudi government and the Twitter employees. Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg told the court that Abouammo, a dual citizen of the United States and Lebanon, presented a flight risk due to large sums of money he had access to from the alleged co-conspirators.

Black, the defense lawyer, said Abouammo, a Seattle resident, no longer had ties to the other two men and he should be allowed to live at home for the wellbeing of his family. In a letter presented to the court, Abouammo's wife, Zeina, said he homeschooled their children, who suffered from depression and anxiety after being bullied at school.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Alzabarah and Almutairi, who is believed to be in Saudia Arabia.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Enjoyed watching Devdutt Padikkal play, says Ganguly

After witnessing Devdutt Padikkals knock of 56 runs against SunRisers Hyderabad, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly complimented the Royal Challengers Bangalore RCB batsman for playing a delightful innings. SunRisers Hyderabad stumbled to a 10-r...

MLB roundup: A's clinch division after Astros' loss

Marco Gonzales pitched eight scoreless innings and the host Seattle Mariners defeated the Houston Astros 6-1 Monday night, allowing the idle Oakland Athletics to clinch the American League West title. Mariners rookie Evan White hit a three-...

Mi Power Bank 3i with 18W fast charging launched; price starts at Rs 899

Xiaomi today launched the 20000mAh Mi Power Bank 3i and 10000mAh Mi Power Bank 3i in India. The new Mi Power Bank 3i comes with smart power management, dual input ports and supports 18W fast-charging.The 10000mAh Mi Power Bank 3i is availab...

Natasha Lyonne, Alia Shawkat to develop Amazon series on Iraqi immigrants

Actors Alia Shawkat and Natasha Lyonne are developing a series titled The Desert People for Amazon. The series will follow an Iraqi immigrant family running a gentlemans club in Palm Springs, California. Shawkat will star in, write and ex...

Give Feedback