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Saudi activist Loujain Al-Hathloul 'to be released' after spending over 1,000 days in detention: sister Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Saudi activist Loujain Al-Hathloul 'to be released' after spending over 1,000 days in detention: sister

Loujain al-Hathloul is expected to be released [Twitter]

Date of publication: 9 February, 2021

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Saudi women’s rights activist and Nobel-prize nominated campaigner Loujain Al-Hathloul is expected to be released after being detained for more than 1,000 days.
Saudi women's rights activist and Nobel-prize nominated campaigner Loujain Al-Hathloul is expected to be released from prison on Thursday, after spending more than 1,000 days in detention.

In a series of tweets, her sister, Alia Al-Hathloul, said that Loujain was expected to be released from prison but will remain on probation and will be under a travel ban, meaning she can't leave the country.

"Can I kindly ask that we don't use the word 'free' or 'freed' in noting Loujain's potential release as it is not freedom. It is a potential release from prison and she is still under probation, travel ban and awaiting news of the appeal process," Alia tweeted.

Al-Hathloul, 31, was arrested in May 2018 - along with about a dozen other women activists - just weeks before the historic lifting of a decades-long ban on female drivers.

During her time in prison, campaigners close to her said she was subjected to solitary confinement and torture.

Al-Hathloul officially spent 1,000 days in prison on Monday.

In December, she was convicted to five years and eight months in prison for terrorism-related crimes and was charged with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security.

Read more: Kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured - How the Saudi regime wanted to silence women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul

UN human rights experts have called the charges against Al-Hathloul spurious, and along with leading rights groups and lawmakers in the US and Europe have called for her release.

"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," Amnesty International said at the time of her sentencing.

The detentions of women activists occurred shortly before and after the kingdom lifted a ban on women driving, which many activists had long championed, as part of reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

This was accompanied by a crackdown on dissidents, leading business figures, and royals, in what the government described as an "anti-corruption" clampdown.

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