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Saudi court looking to hand rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul 'maximum possible' sentence: report Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Saudi court looking to hand rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul 'maximum possible' sentence: report

Loujain's parents, who act as her legal team, were also summoned to court. [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 December, 2020

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Loujain al-Hathloul is reportedly facing up to 20 years behind bars.
Saudi Arabia's state prosecution office is seeking to hand women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul the maximum possible sentence, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

Saudi's terrorism court judge said that he would deliver a verdict and "possible sentencing" in the case on Monday, the report cited Hathloul's sister Lina as saying.

After revieweing a copy of the prosecution's indictment, The Guardian reported that Hathlout could face 20 years behind bars.

Loujain's parents – also her legal team – received a text later in the day summoning them to court on Thursday.

"My sister must be released … All she has done is ask for women to be treated with the dignity and freedom that should be their right. For that, the Saudi authorities are seeking the maximum sentence available under the law – 20 years in prison," The Guardian quoted Lina al-Hathloul saying.

"They say she is a terrorist – in reality she is a humanitarian, an activist and a woman who simply wants a better fairer world," Lina Hathloul said.

Hathloul, 31, was detained after being deported from the UAE to Saudi Arabia in 2018 for speaking out against a ban on women drivers in the kingdom that was later lifted.

The rights campaigner has since remained behind bars, where she alleges she was subjected to torture, sexual abuse, and solitary confinement.

Read also: How Saudi Arabia's fear of feminism landed Loujain al-Hathloul in a terror court

Hathloul went on a hunger strike on October 26 after her family said they were deprived of contact with the jailed activist.

After being tried in Riyadh's criminal court on charges including "destabilising national security" and "working with foreign entities against the state", Hathloul's case was transferred last month to the specialised criminal court (SCC) – the Kingdom's anti-terrorism court.

Saudi authorities have been secretive about Al-Hathloul's case and detention.

Saudi Arabia has faced international backlash for its arbitrary detention of women activists. The Kingdom's rights record came into the limelight in 2018 over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate.

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