Saudi Arabia: Women’s rights defender Loujain Al-Hathloul released after three years in prison | Welcome Developments

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada welcomes the release of women’s rights defender, Loujain Al-Hathloul, after 1001 days of imprisonment on spurious charges. She was released on 10 February 2021 after persistent international pressure, including interventions by LRWC. Ms Al-Hathloul was arrested in May 2018 after advocating advocacy for women’s rights to drive in Saudi Arabia. She also called for the end of male guardianship that has limited women’s international protected rights.

In December 2020, LRWC wrote to Saudi Arabia authorities to express grave concern about Ms. Al-Hathloul’s safety and well-being after reports that she had been subjected to sexual harassment, torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation and detention. LRWC’s letter outlined Saudi Arabia’s violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention against Torture and other human rights law binding on Saudi Arabia.

LRWC remains concerned that Ms. Al-Hathloul continues to be subject to restrictive conditions, including a five-year travel ban. LRWC also calls for the immediate release of other arbitrarily detained human rights defenders imprisoned in Saudi Arabia including Samar Badawi, her brother Raif Badawi, and Raif Badawi’s lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair.