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Lujain Hathloul freed after 3 years behind bars


Yesterday, Saudi authorities released renowned human rights activist Lujain Hathloul after three years behind bars on charges of inciting to change the political system, according to her family. Hathloul, 31, has been detained along with other human and women rights defenders during May, 2018, a few weeks before lifting the ban on women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia, which she was calling for (, causing international condemnation. Last December, a court in Riyadh sentenced Hathloul to nearly six years in prison accusing her of conspiring with foreign parties to overthrow the regime. The judge reduced her sentence to two years and 10 months which fast-tracked her release. At that time, the family described the verdict as disappointing, unfair and politically motivated, stating that they will appeal. An Nahar daily wrote today that Hathoul’s release came after US President Joe Biden pledged to scrutinize the human rights record in Saudi Arabia. It said it expected the Saudi government to try to win the favor of the Biden White House and release other prisoners of US and Saudi nationalities, as well as activists from the ruling family who have been detained without formal charges. (An Nahar, February, 2021)

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