Judge Mufarreh al-Jundub
Judge Mufarreh al-Jundub at the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh convicted prominent activist Loujain Alhathloul of terrorism charges, because she opposed the male guardianship system and peacefully advocated for women's rights to drive and be protected from domestic violence.
"Al-Jundub weaponized the Saudi criminal legal system to protect gender inequality and stifle dissent," said Abdullah Alaoudh, Gulf Director at DAWN. "Convicting Alhathloul of terrorism exposes the empty propaganda of women's empowerment in the Kingdom."
On December 28, 2020, at the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, Judges Mufarreh bin Muhammed bin Mufarreh al-Jundub, Abdullah al-Luhaidan, and Abdulaziz bin Dawood convicted Loujain Alhathloul under the Counter-Terrorism Law of "attempting to change the Basic Law of Governance," "trying to serve a foreign agenda" and "using the Internet to disturb the public order," according to the official Saudi news service Sapq.
No evidence was presented, other than tweets and public appearances advocating for women's right to drive, her campaign against the male-guardianship system in the country, and her peaceful activism.
The judges sentenced her to five years and eight months in prison and a five-year travel ban that starts after her release. The court dismissed Alhathloul's complaints of torture during the time Saudi authorities disappeared her into a secret prison.
Al-Jundub and the other two judges suspended half of Alhathloul's sentence (two years and ten months), and she was released on February 10, 2021. Upon release, she was placed on probation for three years and can be arrested and ordered to complete her sentence if she "commits any crime," according to the family and the official Saudi news Sapq. In Saudi Arabia, the penal code is mostly unwritten, and the codes like the Counter-Terrorism Law or the Anti-Cybercrime Law are designed to crimilize free speech. A vaguely worded accusation by the Saudi prosecution can constitute a "crime".
"After undergoing horrific torture and sexual abuse in prison, Alhathloul remains subject to speech and travel restrictions, while her torturers walk free. This is justice in Saudi Arabia," Alaoudh said.
According to King Fahad National Library, al-Jundub obtained his Master's in 2013 in comparative jurisprudence from the Judicial High Institute, an institute that trains judges in Saudi Arabia. His thesis was on Contracts of Sales in Islamic Jurisprudence. He was appointed as a freshman judge and promoted to middle-rank Judge in 2014. Until early 2018, he was the President of the Personal Status Court in Abha City, in the southern part of Saudi Arabia.
Before al-Jundub joined the Specialized Criminal Court, the Saudi authorities arrested at least six judges of the same court in October 2017 as part of a series of moves to restrict judicial independence. The authorities appointed al-Jundub and others as replacements.
See the case: Loujain Alhathloul
DAWN contacted al-Jundub via the Saudi authorities on March 23, 2021 to request a response, but no response was received by the time of publication.
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