Sunday, March 26, 2023

Saudi court dismisses torture claim on detained women activist

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A Saudi court has thrown out the torture claims of a prominent jailed women’s rights activist who has been in detention for more than two years, her family and media have said.

Loujain al-Hathloul, now 31, was detained in May 2018 along with other activists.

Most of them were campaigning for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia, which was granted one month later.

They are accused in court of terrorism-related crimes.

The Riyadh court, on Tuesday, dismissed al-Hathloul’s torture lawsuit for lack of evidence, Saudi news portal Sabq reported.

The court said medical reports, surveillance cameras and witnesses’ testimonies had invalidated the detainee’s claims, according to the report.

The ruling can be appealed.

Al-Hathloul’s family questioned legal procedures in the torture case.

“During Loujain’s hearing at the criminal court on Tuesday, the judge gave her a secret report concluding the ‘investigation’ regarding her torture,’’ her sister, Lina tweeted.

“He asked her to give her response to the report on the same day!

“He then sent his final report (in which he denies torture) to the SCC (Specialised Criminal Court),’’ Lina added, referring to another court handling terrorism cases.

In November, al-Hathloul’s case was transferred to the SCC, which tries suspected terrorists, her family said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) had previously criticised the Saudi SCC, accusing it of unfair trials and lengthy jail sentences for human rights activists.

Al-Hathloul faces charges that carry a potential sentence of 20 years in prison, HRW said last week.

dpa/NAN

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