Jailed Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul anticipated to be launched | Human Rights Information
Prominent activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who has been in prison since 2018, is due to be released Thursday, her sister says.
According to her sister Alia al-Hathloul, Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul is due to be released from prison on Thursday after more than 1,000 days in prison.
In a tweet on Monday, Alia said her sister is expected to be released on Thursday, February 11, by order of a judge.
In December 2020, a Saudi court sentenced al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison on terrorist charges and banned her from leaving the country for five years. Local media reported she was found guilty by the court, including agitation for change, pursuing a foreign agenda, and using the internet to harm public order.
The court suspended her sentence of two years and ten months, and she was due to be released in March.
Her early release would come weeks in the administration of President Joe Biden, who has vowed to strengthen the human rights record of the kingdom.
Biden said he would end US support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen, saying that the more than six-year war, widely viewed as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, “must end”.
Last week, the Saudi authorities released two US citizenship activists on bail pending their judicial proceedings.
Bader al-Ibrahim, epidemiologist and journalist, and Salah al-Haidar, media commentator, whose mother Aziza al-Yousef is a prominent activist for women’s rights, were released on Thursday.
31-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul has been in custody since 2018 after he was arrested along with at least a dozen other women’s rights activists in a crackdown on dissent led by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS).
Their arrest came just weeks before the historic lifting of a decade-long driving ban for women drivers that they had long campaigned for.
The case of Al-Hathloul and her imprisonment over the past two and a half years have been criticized by rights groups, members of the US Congress and European Union lawmakers.
The pro-government Saudi media branded them “traitors” and al-Hathloul’s family say they experienced sexual harassment and torture while in detention.
Human rights organizations have also documented the torture and sexual violence al-Hathloul has suffered since her arrest.
According to her family members, some of the torture sessions were held in the presence of Saud al-Qahtani, MBS’s close adviser.
The Saudi court recently denied these allegations.
According to the London-based NGO ALQST, Monday was 1,000 days since Loujain’s imprisonment.
Today, 1000 days have passed since human rights defender @LoujainHathloul spent in prison for campaigning for women’s rights in #SaudiArabia.
Sign this petition and urge the # Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally vote #FreeLoujain. https://t.co/43CxfiZDhs pic.twitter.com/TcZCIP263U
– ALQST for human rights (@ALQST_En) February 8, 2021
The detention of women activists has brought the human rights record of the kingdom, an absolute monarchy that was also heavily criticized in relation to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Istanbul consulate in 2018, to the fore again.