CODEPINK Appalled at Saudi Arabia’s Sentencing of Loujain al-Hathloul to Almost Six Years
CODEPINK is appalled, but not surprised, that the Saudi terrorism court has sentenced women’s rights activist Loujain Alhathloul to almost six years in prison. While this sentence comes with a suspension of two years and ten months, including time already served, the Saudi government incarcerating Loujain any longer is a complete and utter shame. Loujain will likely be released in the earlier part of 2021. After her release, she will not be allowed to leave Saudi Arabia for five years. Freedom of movement is a cornerstone to human rights, and this five-year travel ban on top of her baseless conviction and the incarceration and torture she has endured is unacceptable.
Loujain Alhathloul is a hero. She successfully campaigned for women to have the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Her arrest for campaigning for womens’ driving rights occurred just before the Kingdom gave women the right to drive. Since May 2018, Loujain has been in pre-trial detention where she has faced immense abuse, including waterboarding, electroshock, beatings, and threats of sexual assault. If those injustices were not enough, the Specialised Criminal Court of Saudi Arabia sped through her trial over the last few weeks. This included sudden hearings, where Loujain’s family was only given a day’s notice before the next step of her trial. She and her attorney now have a month to make an appeal.
“If the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was genuinely concerned with women’s rights, Loujain would not have been thrown in jail and subjected to this sort of abuse. It only proves how performative his ‘reforms’ were,” Danaka Katovich, the Yemen campaign coordinator for CODEPINK, said.
Loujain’s sister Lina Alhathloul, who has been a tireless advocate for Loujain’s freedom, said, “Loujain stands for any citizen who speaks out with love for their country and wants the best for their country.”
“We stand with the Alhathloul family, and their friends who have not given up and continue to call on the Saudi government to free Loujain,” said CODEPINK national co-director Ariel Gold. “Around the same time as Loujain’s sentencing, the Trump administration notified Congress of its intent to sell Saudi Arabia $478 million in weapons. The U.S.’s friendly relationship with the brutal misogynistic government of Saudi Arabia is shameful. We hope the Biden administration will block this latest weapons deal and act for justice for Loujain and all Saudi women.”
Loujain is advocating for equality and justice for all Saudi citizens, out of pure love for the place that she is from. CODEPINK, a women-led feminist organization, stands unequivocally behind Loujain and all Saudi human rights defenders and will continue its advocacy and support.