Loujain al-Hathloul, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent women’s rights activists has been sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison.
The ruling has been met with heavy international criticism and the ire of U.S. lawmakers.
al-Hathloul had already been in pre-trial detention, and she already endured a few stretches of solitary confinement. The imprisonment will likely be a point of discussion in relations between Saudi Arabia and the incoming presidency of Joe Biden.
Biden’s inauguration is about to take place in January, which is about two months before what is now expected to be al-Hathloul’s release date.
Saudi Arabia’s sentencing of Loujain al-Hathloul for simply exercising her universal rights is unjust and troubling. As we have said, the Biden-Harris administration will stand up against human rights violations wherever they occur.
— Jake Sullivan (@jakejsullivan) December 28, 2020
Her case and imprisonment for the past two and a half years have drawn criticism from several rights groups, including members of the US Congress and European Union lawmakers.
Al-Hathloul could be released in March 2021, as she has been imprisoned since May 2018. Her family has since stated that she would be forbidden to leave Saudi Arabia for five years, and she will be required to serve three years of probation after her release.
Joe Biden vowed to review the U.S. – Saudi relationship and take human rights into greater consideration.
Additionally, he vowed to reverse Donald Trump’s policy of giving Saudi Arabia ‘a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies’, including those of targeting women’s rights activists.
Al-Hathloul was found guilty more than two years ago by the kingdom’s court on charges agitating for change, pursuing a foreign agenda, using the internet to harm public order, and cooperating with individuals and entities that have committed crimes under Saudi laws. All of the charges come under the country’s counterterrorism law.
Source: Aljazeera, HuffPost