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US senator demands the review of relations with KSA after the charging of a Saudi feminist with terrorism

1-12-2020

US Senator Chris Murphy last week called on Joe Biden’s administration to reconsider US-Saudi relations following a Saudi decision to refer female human rights campaigner, Lujain Hathloul to the terrorism court in the Kingdom. “Advocating for women’s right in Saudi Arabia, is now considered terrorism,” Murphy tweeted, adding, “The USA cannot be a credible human rights voice if they keep looking in the other direction.” Murphy’s message came after Alia, Lujain’s sister, disclosed in a tweet on Wednesday, saying, “After three years of detention and a year from the start of Lujain’s trial, the judge at the Criminal Court judge in Riyadh decided to transfer Lujain’s case, for lack of jurisdiction, to a terrorism tribunal.” Recalling, that Lujain, 31, is a Saudi activist who came to prominence in 2014 when she pushed for her right to travel and drive without consent of her guardians. She was arrested in 2018 along with 10 women rights activists (https://bit.ly/2G1gaIi) on charges of conspiring with foreign parties. Hathloul was detained upon returning from an international conference on discrimination against women, in Geneva. According to Juan Cole, a US professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan, and a commentator on Middle East affairs, the detention of Hathloul and lately, the transfer of her case to the terrorism court, place in serious doubt the much acclaimed legal reforms introduced in Saudi Arabia since 2017 with the aim of easing restrictions on women. (Al Diyar, https://www.opednews.com, November 27, 2020)

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