Saudi Activist Loujain Al-Hathloul Released From Jail
Saudi Arabia released a women’s rights activist from jail Feb. 10, Loujain al-Hathloul, who led the campaign to legalize driving for women after spending nearly 1,000 days in jail.
The 31-year-old activist was arrested in May 201 along with several other female activists, just weeks before the Saudi Government lifted the ban on female drivers. She also called for the end of Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system.
In 2014, al-Hathloul attempted to drive across the border from the United Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia. She was detained for more than 70 days and became a household name.
“The best day of my life, Loujain is at my parent’s home,” al-Hathloul’s elder sister, Alia, tweeted.
“Loujain is at home,” another sister, Lina, tweeted.
Saudi officials did not announce al-Hathloul’s release, but her family’s statements came weeks after a judge sentenced al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison, under a broad counterterrorism law.
Her older sister, Alia, told NBC News in December that al-Hathloul would appeal the verdict in addition to another ruling that said she was not subjected to torture while in detention.
She was charged with sharing information with foreign diplomats and journalists, using the internet to harm public order and cooperating with individuals and institutions that were involved in crimes under anti-terror laws
Her release comes as the Kingdom’s rulers, who enjoyed warm relations with former President Trump, establish new relations with the Biden administration. President Biden criticized Saudi Arabia during the campaign and planned to reassess Saudi-U.S. relations.
al-Hathloul’s release comes as the kingdom’s rulers, who enjoyed particularly warm relations with the Trump administration, seek to set a new tone with President Biden, who criticized Saudi Arabia during the campaign and vowed to reassess the United States’ relationship with the kingdom.
Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, wrote on Twitter that he was “pleased” by Ms. al-Hathloul’s release. “This is a good thing,” he wrote.
In December, he called her sentencing “unjust and troubling.”
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