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17th April 2020, 11:42:41 UTC

Loujain al-Hathloul was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in May 2018. Her crime? She was an activist, fighting for the right of women in Saudi Arabia to be legally allowed to drive.

She won. Women are now allowed to drive cars. She’s in jail because she challenged the state and spoke out. Because she embarrassed the powerful in Saudi Arabia and wouldn’t back down. She’s been tortured, threatened with sexual abuse, and now she’s facing the pandemic too.

Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to five years and eight months imprisonment following an unfair trial before the Specialised Criminal Court. On 10 March, the Specialised Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia upheld the conviction of Saudi woman human rights defender Loujain al-Hathloul, confirming a sentence of five years and eight months with conditional release. Loujain al-Hathloul had appealed the sentence handed down to her.

This sentencing, while partially suspended, still shows the cruelty of the Saudi authorities towards one of the bravest women who dared to be vocal about her dreams of a better Saudi Arabia.

Loujain al-Hathloul has already spent more than 900 days in detention, during which she endured torture, sexual harassment and other forms of ill-treatment, was held in solitary confinement and denied access to her family.Loujain al-Hathloul continues to pay a price for her peaceful activism and remains at risk of re-arrest, under severe movement restrictions, and effectively restricted from pursuing any peaceful activism.

She should be free, enjoying her freedom and provided with a remedy for the violations she has suffered throughout her arbitrary detention and the unfair trial.

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