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Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Released From Prison
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, Aug. 27, 2017. (Emna Mizouni/Creative Commons)

Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Released From Prison

Prominent Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from a Saudi prison after more than three years.  She was released on Wednesday and her family posted on social media photos of her at home. She will remain on probation for three years and is under a travel ban that prevents her from leaving the country for five years.

Hathloul, 31, and 10 other female activists were arrested in May 2018 as part of a sweeping crackdown on women campaigning for the right to drive. Weeks after her arrest Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving. She said she was subject to physical, sexual and psychological abuse in prison. The Saudi government denies the reports of torture.

She was found guilty on charges including agitating for change, pursuing a foreign agenda and using the internet to harm public order. She was also accused of having contacts with foreign diplomats, journalists, and activist groups. Her detention was roundly condemned by international organizations and human rights groups. US President Joe Biden already had begun to pressure Saudi Arabia to release political prisoners and to improve its human right record.

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