‘Loujain is not free’: Family of Saudi women’s rights activist vow to get ‘real justice’ after her release


The family of prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was released from prison on Wednesday, have vowed to fight for “real justice” saying she will not be truly free until her alleged torturers are held to account and the charges and travel ban against her are dropped.

Ms Hathloul, 31, was released after nearly three years behind bars as a Riyadh court had suspended a part of her six-year sentence, most of which she has already served.

Her family shared a photograph of her smiling outside of jail and welcomed the release but said that while she is no longer behind bars, emphasised she is still subject to a five-year travel ban and has been put on probation.

They also claimed that while she was detained, she has been subjected to abuse, including electric shocks, waterboarding, flogging and sexual assault, accusations the Saudi authorities have repeatedly denied.

An appeals court dismissed her claim that she was tortured in jail, citing a lack of evidence according to her family.

Her sisters – Lina and Alia al-Hathloul – on Thursday vowed to continue campaigning for their sister and bringing her alleged torturers to justice, specifically naming Saudi al-Qahtani a top aid of crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman, whom they claim was present during the abuse.

They also said they would fight to remove a travel ban against the entire family, as well as reparations for Ms Hathloul for “illegal imprisonment and to hold local newspapers accountable for her defamation”.

“Loujain is not free, she has been temporarily conditionally released, what we want now is that real justice,” her sister Lina said. “We won’t stop until full justice is achieved,” she added.

“I will only be satisfied when she gets her full freedom, when she is able to come and see me in Belgium, [when] we can travel together [when] she is able to speak about everything that has happened to her.”

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