Activist Lujen al-Hathul, who fights to get women to drive in Saudi Arabia, has been seen as a threat to the country. Perhaps that is why his trial will now take place before a special tribunal deciding on national security and terrorism cases. Lujen, who was arrested along with other activists in 2018, was brought to court on Wednesday after nearly a year.
‘Tortured in prison’
Lujen’s sister Leena said her sister was not allowed to meet her family or speak on the phone. Against this, Lugen goes on a hunger strike again. She did this twice in a year. Lina alleges that Lujen is being tortured in prison. When she arrived in court on Wednesday, she looked very weak and couldn’t even hold the paper.
Notorious court for a long sentence
Leena said the judge said the criminal court hearing in the case was outside her jurisdiction. Therefore, he should be heard in the terrorism court. Human rights organization Amnesty International called the move disturbing. The deputy regional director said the tribunal was known to have served a long prison term after a wrongful trial. Leena says other institutions, including the country’s Human Rights Commission, are not helping him and have called on the international community to put pressure on Saudi Arabia.
An incredible request
Significantly, the empowerment of women was also addressed at the recently concluded G-20 Summit. Prior to the summit, Saudi Arabia demanded the release of the arrested activists, but those demands were ignored. Leena says the Saudi women’s empowerment campaign is just a publicity stunt. They say they don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Arabia is playing?
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has tried to reduce stereotypes, allow music and create a distinct image with more rights for women, but is not allowed to speak out against him or his government. The most painful example of this is journalist Jamal Khashogi, who was brutally murdered in 2018. He was killed at the Saudi consulate in the Turkish capital, Istanbul, while writing against the country.