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Startseite Urgent Actions 2021 02 Saudi women’s rights activist unfairly tried
UA 013/21
Saudi Arabia
Abgeschlossen am 10. Februar 2021
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10.02.2021 Great News!

We are delighted to share that Loujain al-Hathloul was RELEASED today, after 1002 days in detention. Please see the Amnesty press quote.

An Outcome UA will be issued as soon as possible.

Saudi women’s rights activist unfairly tried

AI-Index: MDE 23/3648/2021

Saudi woman human rights defender Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to a prison term of five years and eight months on 28 December 2020 following a deeply unfair trial by the Specialized Criminal Court. She was convicted for defending women’s right to drive and calling for an end to the patriarchal male guardianship system. Loujain al-Hathloul, a prisoner of conscience, has appealed the sentence. Amnesty International urges Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her and ensure her conviction is quashed.


Loujain al-Hathloul is one of the most outspoken women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. She is well-known for her campaigning against the driving ban and the campaign to end the male guardianship system. In 2014, she was detained for 73 days after she attempted to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. Loujain al-Hathloul also went on to stand for election in Saudi Arabia in November 2015 – the first time women were allowed to both vote and stand in elections in the state. However, despite finally being recognized as a candidate, her name was never added to the ballot.

Saudi officials detained Loujain al-Hathloul without charge or trial from 17 May 2018 until 13 March 2019, when she appeared for her first court session. Loujain al-Hathloul was subjected to lengthy spells in solitary confinement between 2019 and 2020. For the first three months of detention, Loujain al-Hathloul endured torture, sexual abuse and other forms of ill-treatment when she was held incommunicado and in solitary confinement with no access to her family or lawyer.

On 13 March 2019, Loujain al-Hathloul was among 11 women activists brought to trial before the Criminal Court in Riyadh. The court session was closed and diplomats and journalists were banned from attending. Several women activists face charges of contacting foreign media, other activists and international organizations including Amnesty International. Some of them were also accused of «promoting women’s rights» and «calling for the end of the male guardianship system.»

On 26 October 2020, Loujain al-Hathloul went on hunger strike for two weeks, in protest at being denied regular contact with her family. As a result of mounting international pressure, Saudi authorities resumed trials of detained women activists, including Loujain al-Hathloul, on 25 November 2020.

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