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Concerns raised over jailed Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul

CONCERNS have been raised over the safety of jailed Saudi Arabian activist Loujain al-Hathloul: her family has been unable to contact her for three weeks, her sister reported today.

Lina al-Hathloul said that visits to her sister had been banned since March, with the authorities citing the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason to block the visits.

She warned that the last time Ms Hathloul was held incommunicado was when she was being tortured in a Saudi interrogation centre.

Loujain Hathoul was detained in April 2018 when Saudi forces kidnapped her, having pulled her over while she was driving between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and took her by plane to Riyadh.

For the first 10 months of her imprisonment the prominent women’s rights activist was not aware of the charges against her. But she has since been accused of being a “traitor” and of “trying to destabilise the kingdom.”

Authorities allege that she had met British diplomats and rights organisations to discuss the situation in the reactionary gulf state.

While in prison she has reported that she has been tortured, including beatings, electrocution and the threat of rape by senior Saudi officials.

The Prisoners of Conscience campaign group has demanded the release of information regarding Ms Hathloul’s safety.

“We demand the Saudi authorities immediately disclose Loujain al-Hathloul’s situation and health condition by allowing her to communicate with her family and to release her immediately without delay or preconditions,” the group said.

 “The continued denial of the activist’s right to communicate is legally unacceptable, and we should not forget that her arrest is also invalid, and the crime of torturing her brutally will not be overlooked.”

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