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Woman Among Five Human Rights Activists on Trial for Their Lives

In a secret terrorism trial, Saudi Arabian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five human rights activists – one of whom is a woman. Aside from her gender, the case is generating much attention because defendant Israa al-Ghomgham is not even accused of violent crimes. According to Human Rights Watch, she is on trial for “incitement to protest” and “providing moral support to rioters.” Ironically, if there is good news, it’s that the trial is continuing. Social media reports had said it had ended and the defendants were already dead. Middle East observers note the anomaly that while new, progressive attitudes and modern thinking – e.g. women driving and movie theaters — generally capture the headlines, the Saudi leadership appears to be more ruthless than ever in matters where official policy is the subject of protest.