Verdict Against Prominent Women's Rights Activist, After Over 950 days Pre-trial Detention, Based on Evidence of Her Peaceful Activism
(New York, December 28) – Today, Saudi state media reported a verdict of five years and eight months in prison by Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal (Terrorism) Court in Riyadh against Loujain Alhathoul following her two-and-a-half-years in pre-trial detention.
The judge suspended two years and 10 months of Alhathloul's sentence. With credit for the time she has already served, she could be released in two months, her family reported.
The evidence of "terrorism" Saudi Attorney General Saud Al-Mojeb presented against her pertain entirely to her advocacy for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, including tweets supporting women's right to drive.
"The Saudi Crown Prince's obsessive and compulsive fixation on crushing the voices of Saudi reformers has reached an apex today with this cruel sentence against women's rights champion Loujain Alhathloul, despite global condemnation of her unjust prosecution," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). "The 'terrorism' verdict against this incredibly brave young woman should be the final nail in the coffin of any pandering, obsequious efforts to portray MBS as a reformer, and the final wake up call we need to recognize that he is a dangerous, vindictive tyrant operating with total impunity to terrorize his own citizens."
Since her initial detention on May 15, 2018, Alhathloul has been held at various times incommunicado and in solitary confinement and subjected to torture and sexual abuse. The absurd charges against her, listed in full here, pertain to her activism on social media for the right of women to drive and an end to the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia. The government initially sought to prosecute her in the country's terrorism court, moved her case to the General Criminal Court in 2019, but then moved her case back to the terrorism court earlier this month.
DAWN has documented the complete record of Alhathloul's prosecution, detention, and mistreatment in prison, including the charge sheets and information presented against her as "evidence", available on our website. For background on the Saudi Arabian culprits involved in human rights violations against Alhathoul, see:
1– Saud al-Qahtani, former senior Consultant to the crown prince.
2- Maj. Gen. Salah al-Jutaili, Director of Legal Affairs in the Presidency of State Security.
3-Brigadier-General, Adel al-Subhi, Warden of Dhahban Prison in Jeddah.
4- Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb.
5- Lieutenant Colonel Ali bin Rashid al-Zahrani.