Dubai, December 28
A Saudi court on Monday sentenced prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison, local media reported, in a trial that has drawn international condemnation as Riyadh faces new US scrutiny.
Hathloul, 31, has been held since 2018 following her arrest along with at least 12 other women’s rights activist. The verdict, reported by Sabq and al-Shark al-Awsat newspapers, poses an early challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s relationship with US President-elect Joe Biden, who has criticised Riyadh’s human rights record.
Hathloul was charged with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security, local media said. United Nations human rights experts have called the charges “spurious”, and along with leading rights groups and lawmakers in the United States and Europe have called for her release. — Reuters