IslamNews – Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been released from a Saudi prison after nearly three years behind bars, according to her family.
The terrorism court convicted Hathloul on charges of harming national security, seeking to change the Saudi political system, and using her relations with foreign governments and rights groups to “pressure the Kingdom to change its laws and systems,” according to a charge sheet her family published earlier in December.
UN experts called the charges “spurious.” In a six-page charge sheet for Hathloul’s case, a section entitled “crimes committed” includes activism against the kingdom’s restrictive male guardianship laws, along with contact with foreign journalists and diplomats.
Hathloul will remain on probation for three years following her release, during which time she could be arrested for any perceived illegal activity, the family said in a statement in December. She will also be banned from traveling for five years, they said.
Hathloul’s release comes less than a week after the White House called on the kingdom to release political prisoners, including women’s rights activists. President Joe Biden has vowed to pressure Saudi Arabia into improving its rights record, marking a departure from former President Donald Trump’s reluctance to criticize the kingdom’s ramped up crackdown on dissent in recent years.