Great Britain

Loujain al-Hathloul: Prominent jailed Saudi activist to be tried in terror court, claims sister

A prominent jailed Saudi women’s rights activist’s case is believed to have been transferred to Specialised Criminal Court.

Loujain al-Hathloul, who has allegedly been tortured in prison in the kingdom, successfully campaigned to win Saudi women the right to drive.

Lina al-Hathloul, her younger sister, said the Nobel prize-nominated activist’s case had been moved to the Specialised Criminal Court, which tries suspected terrorists and has been accused of muzzling human rights activists.

She said her sister, who has recently been on hunger strike, looked weak and her body was “shaking uncontrollably” in the court room.

“Regarding Loujain's health: She looked weak in court, her body was shaking uncontrollably and her voice was faint and shaky,” her sister tweeted.

Her family say they were given no time to get ready for Loujain’s trial due to only being informed it was taking a place a day before on Tuesday.

Loujain went on hunger strike on 26 October in order to protest against the authorities’ refusal to give her regular contact with her relatives. 

On Tuesday, Lina told The Independent she was not sure if she was still on hunger strike due to having not heard from her.

Her 25-year-old sister said: “From the beginning, it has been a sham trial and a show trial so it won't magically become a fair trial. From the beginning, it has been normal to give a day's notice for things.

“The authorities decisions have been very impulsive. The procedures have not been respected and have not been fair. The authorities previously blocked my parents from giving Loujain her legal documents.

“All we can hope for is that they release Loujain. I'm extremely nervous about tomorrow. But I’m also hopeful they release her. I really miss my sister. Not a second goes by that I don’t miss her.”

Free Loujain, a campaign group made up of Loujain’s family members and supporters, claimed Loujain had to stop her hunger strike after two weeks as she was left “psychologically exhausted” after authorities came into the jail and woke her up multiple times in the night.

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