Urgent Action Update: Loujain al-Hathloul Conditionally Released (Saudi Arabia: UA 13.21)
February 18, 2021
On 10 February, woman human rights defender Loujain al-Hathloul was conditionally released after being sentenced in December 2020 to a prison term of five years and eight months following a deeply unfair trial. She was convicted of charges related to her women’s rights work. She has appealed the sentence. Loujain al-Hathloul continues to be on probation for two years and 10 months, partially suspended from her sentence, and faces a five-year travel ban. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to ensure her sentence is quashed, and effectively investigate her claims of torture while in detention.
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His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 11 403 3125
Ambassador Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20037
Phone: 202 342 3800
Contact Form: https://bit.ly/2KScqag
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
Your Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,
On 10 February, Saudi woman human rights defender Loujain al-Hathloul was conditionally released from prison after being sentenced by the Specialized Criminal Court in December 2020 to five years and eight months in prison, with partial suspension of two years and 10 months, including the time she has already served in detention since May 2018. She was convicted of trumped-up charges related to her peaceful human rights work, including “spying with foreign parties” and “conspiring against the kingdom” for promoting women’s rights and calling for the end of the male guardianship system.
Loujain al-Hathloul was arrested in May 2018 and was detained without charge or trial from 17 May 2018 until 13 March 2019, when she appeared for her first court session. She was subjected to lengthy spells in solitary confinement throughout her detention. For the first three months of detention, Loujain al-Hathloul endured torture, sexual abuse, and other ill-treatment when she was held incommunicado and in solitary confinement with no access to her family or lawyer. Even though she is now outside prison, Loujain al-Hathloul is not free yet. She continues to face probation, which means she faces the risk of re-imprisonment – conditional release and a travel ban of five years. In addition, she continues to be denied access to justice and accountability for her allegations of being tortured and harassed in prison during the first three months of her detention.
I urge you to ensure that Loujain al-Hathloul’s conviction and sentence are quashed as she was detained and tried solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression. I also urge you to ensure Loujain al-Hathloul’s freedom of movement and travel by lifting the ban imposed on her, as well as removing the travel ban on her parents. Furthermore, I call on you to ensure an impartial, effective investigation into the reports of Loujain al-Hathloul being tortured, harassed and that those suspected of responsibility are prosecuted in fair trials with no possibility of the death penalty.