13 March 2019 – After few hours, the Saudi activist Loujain Al-Hathloul, along with activists Aziza Al-Yousef and Eman Al-Najfan, are standing before the specialised court in Riyadh, which deals with the terrorism charges, according to Loujain’s family. They not allowed to appoint a lawyer, nor were provided the list of the indictments.
The three ladies were arrested in May last year along with 4 other female activists, in an attempt to scare other activists and silence them. The detained activists were subjected to severe torture, including electric shocks and sexual harassment. Al-Hathloul’s family said they have seen traces of beatings and torture on their daughter’s body in their last visit.
Commenting, Fatima Yazbek the spokeswoman of the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), said “we are concerned about the mental and physical well-being of the three ladies, as well as the other activists and clerics who are behind bars for practicing their right to freedom of expression, and to peaceful political and human rights activism. The information coming from inside the Saudi prisons are depressing, taking into consideration the lack of the minimum detainees' rights.”
“The trial of the three activists, which will begin in few hours lacks the minimum international standards of free trials, as the detainees were subjected to torture, they were not provided with their charges nor had the chance to have a lawyer or time to prepare their defence. Moreover, they are arbitrarily arrested because of their activism and calling for women’s rights and freedoms in the Kingdom,” she added.
“We call on the diplomatic missions working in Saudi Arabia to attend the trial of the three ladies today to witness the so-called “legal procedures”. We, also, call on the Australian government to expedite approving the asylum claims of the female Saudi activists in Australia. The international community, especially Australia and the European countries which protect human rights, should call on the Saudi authorities to the immediate and unconditional release of all the prisoners of conscience.” Yazbek continued.