Saudi Feminist Political Prisoner Loujain Al-Hathloul’s Trial Begins

Louijan Alhathloul

The Saudi Arabian Government has put women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul on closed trial in ‘terrorism court’ starting December 10. The trial has started after two years of imprisonment. What was Loujain Al-Hathloul fault? She was arrested for peaceful activism for women’s right to drive.

Loujain al-Hathloul is one of the important faces of the Saudi women’s rights activism in the country. When Saudi Arabia granted women the right to drive in 2018, she was under arrest due to her protests and campaigns for the cause. She made it to Time‘s Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People of 2019’.

Loujain was arrested along with various other campaigners on the charges of “undermining the kingdom’s security, stability and national unity,” as reported by Saudi Press Agency.

“Guess what Saudi Arabia does on International Human Rights Day? It sends brave & peaceful activists like Loujain al-Hathloul to their first trial at the ‘terrorism court’, simply for wanting basic human rights,” Amnesty International said on Twitter.

UN calls for release

United Nations Organisation has firmly called for the release of all the activists arrested for demanding their rights. “We are extremely alarmed to hear that Ms al-Hathloul has been in detention for more than two years on spurious charges, is now being tried by a Specialized Terrorism Court. Just because she was exercising her fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association” said Elizabeth Broderick, chair of the UN working group on discrimination against women and girls, in a statement.

Loujain’s detention and torture

The prison authority tortured Loujain by beating and other methods, as alleged by her family and human rights organisations. On top of that, the draconian rules didn’t allow her to meet anyone for long periods of time. Moreover, many have expressed their concern over her deteriorating health.

In a brief hearing when the case was moved to terrorism court last month, her appearance raised many questions for her well-wishers. A witness reported, “She looked unwell. She was shaking and read her defence statement out in a feeble voice.”

Sugandha Bora is an intern with SheThePeople