Saudi prosecutor seeks maximum jail term for women’s rights activist
Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor is in pursuit of maximum possible jail term- 20 years behind bars- for female rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
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Hathloul, 31, is being tried in the kingdom's notorious terrorism court. In a hearing on Wednesday, the judge said a verdict and possible sentence for Hathloul's case may come as early as Monday, the Guardian reported, based on a copy of the prosecution's indictment provided by the activist's sister.
Loujain al-Hathloul's case was controversially transferred to the terrorism court late last month; it remains unclear if her parents' summoning to the criminal court implies another transfer.
"My sister must be released... All she has done is ask for women to be treated with the dignity and freedom that should be their right. For that, the Saudi authorities are seeking the maximum sentence available under the law - 20 years in prison," Hathloul’s sister said on Wednesday.
The women's rights activist was arrested in May 2018 with at least a dozen other women activists, just weeks before the decades-long ban on female drivers was lifted.
She and other imprisoned activists are being charged under the country's anti-cybercrime law, with the allegations against her described by UN experts as “spurious.”
The charges included allegations that the activists, including Hathloul, "communicated with people and entities hostile to the king", "cooperated with journalists and media institutions hostile to the king", "provided financial support to foreign adversaries" and "recruited persons for information detrimental to the security of the kingdom".