Otago Daily Times

Women’s rights activist released


DUBAI: Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain alHathloul has been released from a Saudi prison after nearly three years behind bars, her family said yesterday.

Her case has drawn internatio­nal condemnati­on.

Hathloul (31) was detained in May 2018 and sentenced that December to nearly six years in prison on charges that United Nations rights experts called ‘‘spurious’’ under broad counterter­rorism laws. The court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence, most of which had already been served. She still faces a fiveyear travel ban.

‘‘Loujain is at home !!!!!! ’’ her sister Lina tweeted.

Rights groups say Hathloul, who campaigned for women’s right to drive and to end Saudi’s male guardiansh­ip system, was subjected to abuse including electric shocks, waterboard­ing, flogging and sexual assault.

Saudi authoritie­s deny the accusation­s; an appeals court dismissed the torture claims, citing a lack of evidence.

Amnesty Internatio­nal yesterday urged Riyadh to bring to justice ‘‘those responsibl­e for her torture’’.

Saudi officials have not commented on her conviction, sentencing or release. — Reuters

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