The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)yesterdaycalled for the “early release” of female Saudi activist Loujain Al-Hathloul.
In a tweet, the OHCHR said it considered Al-Hathloul’s conviction and imprisonment of five years and eight months “deeply troubling”.
The UN body said that the conviction and sentence of prominent human rights activist Al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison, while she has been arbitrarily detained for two years and a half, is deeply concerning.
#SaudiArabia: Conviction and 5yrs 8 month sentence handed down to prominent women’s rights campaigner #LoujainAlHathloul, already arbitrarily detained for 2 ½ years, is also deeply troubling. We understand early release is possible, and strongly encourage it as matter of urgency.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) December 28, 2020
The OHCHRcontinued: “We understand that early release is possible and encourage it as a matter of urgency.”
There was no immediate comment from Riyadh on the UN’s call.
Earlier yesterday, a Saudi court sentenced human rights activist Al-Hathloul to jail after charging her with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security, local media said. The court suspended two years and ten months of her sentence, or time served since Hathloul was arrested on 15 May 2018, the Sabq and Asharq Al-Awsat newspapers said.
Al-Hathloul was arrested along with about a dozen other female activists just weeks before Saudi Arabia lifted a decades-old ban on female drivers. She went on a hunger strike in October for several weeks to protest against her prison conditions. A report released earlier this month alleged that she was amongst a number of female activists that were being tortured and forced to carry out “sex acts” while in detention.