Middle East/North Africa

Two women’s rights activists released after two years in Saudi Arabia prison

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Saudi Arabia has released two women’s rights activists who were imprisoned for two years, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

The London-based organization ALQST for Human Rights shared on Sunday that human rights advocates Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah had been released following the end of their prison sentences. 

Both of the women were sentenced to five years in prison for being vocal critics of Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship laws, which allows men to have control over women’s ability to obtain a passport and travel, according to the AP. 

This comes after Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led a crackdown targeting female activists protesting for greater freedoms in 2018. 

The arrests happened during the time the country lifted its longstanding ban on women driving in June. 

Dozen of female prisoners also told Saudi judges about the harassment and abuse they faced in prison, including being caned on their backs, electrocuted and waterboarded by masked men during interrogations. Prisoners also reported being sexually assaulted and threatened with rape and death, according to the AP. 

Badawi and al-Sadah will be barred from travel for five years and from speaking with the media and sharing informaiton online about their case as part of their conditional release deal. 

The Saudi government has now released all but one female prisoner from its 2018 arrest sweep, the AP noted.

Tags Saudi Arabia women rights

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