Saudi rights activist jailed over terrorism charges

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Riyadh

A Saudi court on Monday sentenced prominent activist Loujain al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison for terrorism-related crimes, according to local media allowed to attend her trial.
The women’s rights activist was convicted of ‘various activities prohibited by the anti-terrorism law’, the pro-government online outlet Sabq and other media cited the court as saying.
They added that the court suspended two years and 10 months of the sentence ‘if she does not commit any crime’ within the next three years.
The reports did not explain whether the sentence included time served or say when she may be released from custody. A motion to appeal can be filed within 30 days. Hathloul, 31, was arrested in May 2018 with about a dozen other women activists just weeks before the historic lifting of a decades-long ban on female drivers, a reform they had long campaigned for.
After being tried in Riyadh’s criminal court, her trial was transferred last month to the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), or the anti-terrorism court. Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told AFP that Hathloul was accused of contacting ‘unfriendly’ states and providing classified information, but her family said no evidence to support the allegations had been put forward.
While some detained women activists have been provisionally released, Hathloul and others remain imprisoned.—AFP

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