Monday, December 28, 2020

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul sentenced to five and a half years in prison


The Telegraph
David Rose
Mon, December 28, 2020, 7:57 AM EST

A prominent Saudi Arabian activist who campaigned for the right to drive was sentenced to nearly six years in jail today, despite international criticism of her trial and claims she had been tortured.  

Loujain al-Hathloul, 31, was arrested with a dozen other women’s rights campaigners in 2018, even as the Gulf kingdom lifted the ban on women driving and pledged to relax patriarchal male guardianship laws.

A judge in a Saudi terrorism court in Riyadh on Monday sentenced her to five years and eight months on charges related to her activism, including seeking to change the Saudi political system conspiring with foreign governments and harming national security.

The judge insisted that she had confessed to the allegations and rejected Ms Hathloul’s claims that she was tortured with water-boarding, electric shocks and had been threatened with rape after her arrest.  

She spent eight months in solitary confinement last year and in October went on hunger strike in protest at her treatment.

However, the court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence, which Ms Hathloul’s sister Lina said could see her released early next year, due to time already spent behind bars.


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