Protest in Paris against Saudi women's rights activists

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Reuters

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Activists protest against the arrests at the Saudi embassy in Paris

A court in Saudi Arabia has postponed a hearing in the trial of quite a few of the country’s most prominent women’s rights activists, officials say.

Some relatives had been told that the judge had delayed the session for “private factors”, Reuters news agency stated.

The females had been arrested final Could and charged with offences which includes spying.

They had been campaigning for an finish to the country’s male guardianship technique and for the appropriate to drive, ahead of the ban was lifted final June.

Because then, horrific particulars have emerged of their alleged mistreatment at the hands of the Saudi authorities.

On Tuesday, Walid al-Hathloul, the brother of one particular of the greatest-identified activists, Loujain al-Hathloul, told the BBC his sister was so traumatised by what had occurred to her that she wanted to stay in jail, afraid of how her reputation had been unfairly smeared in her absence.

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Reuters

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Loujain al-Hathloul’s brother tells the BBC that she was tortured in prison in Jeddah

He stated that following her arrest Ms Hathloul had been taken to a secret detention facility close to the maximum safety prison of Dhahban in Jeddah. There, she told her loved ones, she was taken down to a basement and subjected to waterboarding and electrocution.

He named Saud al-Qahtani, a close confidant of the Saudi Crown Prince, as the man who oversaw her torture, allegedly laughing as he threatened to have her raped and murdered.

‘Shrouded in secrecy’

In February, a group of British MPs carried out an investigation, supported by a quantity of international human rights organisations, into the allegations of mistreatment of Ms Hathloul and other female activists. They concluded that the allegations had been credible.

In March the UN’s Human Rights Council named for their release and a lot more than 30 nations, which includes all 28 EU members, signed a statement condemning their prolonged detention.

The Saudi government says the detained females take pleasure in all the rights afforded to them beneath Saudi law.

But Mr Hathloul stated almost everything about his sister’s arrest and detention had been shrouded in secrecy and that the complete judicial method lacked transparency. It was not till November 2018, he stated, six months soon after her arrest, that the loved ones even discovered what she was accused of.

Extra on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia:

The accusations, he stated, integrated “applying for a job at the UN and getting in speak to with human rights organisations”. He added that the prosecution had not made any proof to help its allegation of spying.

When Saudi Arabia rejects all criticism of its judicial technique, insisting it is primarily based on Sharia (Islamic law), in practice it has normally been opaque, with arbitrary judgements generally handed down at the whim of a judge.

This case has attracted especially widespread international condemnation and is noticed as additional damaging the reputation of Saudi Arabia’s controversial Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, identified as MBS.

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Mohammed Bin Salman was as soon as hailed as a reformer in the west – but is accused of suppressing dissenters

Initially courted in the West as an enlightened reformer who reintroduced cinemas and public entertainment to the conservative kingdom, MBS remains beneath suspicion for his alleged involvement in final October’s murder of the journalist Jamal al-Khashoggi, which his government denies.

Commentators have explained the apparent paradox involving the accelerated crackdown on human rights and the crown prince’s simultaneous liberalisation of Saudi society as getting the ruling family’s determination to steer reforms at their pace, rather than at the one particular demanded by peaceful protesters.

This, in a nation exactly where all political parties are banned, would be noticed as a unsafe precedent.

What subsequent for the activists?

The subsequent stage anticipated in the trial of Loujain al-Hathloul and her co-defendants is the judge’s response to their defence, which has currently been submitted.

Her brother stated the loved ones had been deeply worried about what would take place subsequent, partly due to the lack of transparency.

He stated his sister was bearing up in spite of almost everything, but that she was disheartened that the Saudi authorities had so far failed to investigate her complaints of torture.

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