Trial Begins for Female Saudi Activist

woman in headscarf

The trial of Saudi women’s activist Loujain al-Hathloul began last week, two and a half years after she was arrested and incarcerated for advocating a woman’s right to drive in the country. A state news agency said the charges against her were listed as participating in activities that undermine the kingdom’s security, stability, and national unity.

The trial is taking place in a terrorism court, known for unfair trials and even death sentences. According to al-Hathloul’s relatives, she has experienced abuse and torture, while a UN women’s committee said her health is deteriorating. 

Chair of the UN working group on discrimination against women and girls Elizabeth Broderick made a statement regarding this case, saying it was alarming to hear that al-Hathloul was being tried “by a specialized terrorism court for exercising her fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.” 

Loujain al-Hathloul’s trial ironically started on International Human Rights day. It’s not known how long the trial will last or if the several other female activists detained had their day in court. 

The Realist Woman’s take:

This woman has been through hell and now she is being charged on the vaguest charges I’ve ever heard. They need to let this woman and all of the other women detained go. 

The crazy thing is, Loujain al-Hathloul was advocating for women to drive when she was arrested, only for the country to announce it was lifting its ban on women driving shortly after. Why didn’t they release her then? They didn’t like her influence because with influence is a level of power and authority with the people. They wanted to put her in her place, silence her and dissuade other women from being activists and using their voice. This country is brutal towards women and has the nerve to not only take away her freedom for two years but begin her trial on her on International Human Rights Day. It’s insane.

They literally have nothing on this woman. The charges are baseless. She needs to be let go now.