Jamal Khashoggi: US report expected to blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for journalist’s murder | World News

The US government is expected to release a declassified intelligence report that finds the Saudi crown prince responsible for approving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Three officials familiar with the matter told NBC News that in the report – contributed to mostly by the CIA – an assessment is thought to find Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely ordered the killing of the Washington Post columnist.

Mr Khashoggi disappeared in 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he is later believed to have been dismembered.

His remains have never been found.

Mohammed bin Salman previously enjoyed a cosy relationship with Donald Trump

The release of the report, expected later on Thursday, is expected to mark a significant shift in US-Saudi relations, which under Donald Trump’s administration saw the major oil producer given a relaxed ride on human rights issues, its role in the Yemen war, and more.

Mr Trump also rejected calls from politicians and human rights groups to release the then-classified report in 2018 when it was first briefed to Congress.

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He is said to have been keen to keep his Arab ally close amid increasing tensions with Iran – the Saudi’s rival in the region – as well as wanting to promote US arms sales.

Under Joe Biden, however, the new US administration is looking to shift ties to a more traditional approach, starting with the president’s first phone conversation with Saudi King Salman.

On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Mr Biden would only have communications with the 85-year-old king – another shift away from Mr Trump’s cosy relationship with the crown prince, who is the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Ms Psaki also confirmed the declassified report on Mr Khashoggi’s killing was being readied for release.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a foreign policy address as Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a visit to the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
Joe Biden has pledged to realign US ties with Saudi Arabia

Riyadh has already admitted Mr Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue” extradition operation that went wrong, but has denied involvement from the crown prince, whose policies were often criticised in the writer’s columns.

Five men were eventually sentenced to death for the murder, but their sentences were commuted to 20 years in prison after being forgiven by Mr Khashoggi’s family.

During his 2020 presidential campaign, Mr Biden promised to realign Saudi ties with the US and has already ended offensive arms sales that could be utilised in Yemen.

He has also appointed a special envoy to help diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the Yemeni civil war.

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Prince of Arran’s future in doubt after trainer Charlie Fellowes sounds warning, jockey Hollie Doyle creates history in Saudi Arabia

The poor effort prompted Fellowes to take to Twitter, warning punters and those who are fans of his nine-year-old stable star to wait to hear on future plans.

“All plans on hold for PRINCE OF ARRAN for the time being after a 2nd very slow start in a row,” he tweeted. “He owes us absolutely nothing and we will take our time before making any further decisions on his future. He is safe and well after his race and flies back to England on Monday.”

Prince of Arran is an iron horse who has won nearly $2 million stake-money despite having won only six of his 47 starts.

He has always shown improved form when racing outside England, which is why this latest below par effort is causing some consternation.

A lot of his earnings have come from his efforts in Australia, where Newmarket-based Fellowes has often said he seems to grow an extra leg.

Last November he ran third, beaten less than a length by Twilight Payment, in the Melbourne Cup.
Prior to that he had been a close up fourth in the Caulfield Cup.

In 2019 he went down in a Melbourne Cup photo finish to Vow And Declare having won the Geelong Cup and run second in the Herbert Power Handicap in lead-up runs.

The year before he introduced himself to Australian racegoers by finishing third in the Herbert Power, winning the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day to get a place in the Cup field, and then finishing third in the Cup itself behind Cross Counter.

Bookmakers have installed Prince of Arran as favourite or second favourite in early long-range markets for this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Meanwhile, there was much brighter news for Melbourne-based Terry Henderson, boss of the OTI syndication group, whose game mare True Self picked up close to $1 million winning the Neom Turf Cup over 2100-metres at Riyadh.

True Self is trained by Irish maestro Willie Mullins and contributed to a first for Saudi Arabia as she was ridden by Britain’s top female rider, Hollie Doyle, who became the first woman to win a race at the Saudi Cup meeting.

Hollie Doyle with True Self in Saudi Arabia. Credit:Getty Images

“That was quite exciting,” Henderson quipped when contacted on Sunday.

“She’s such an enigma really. She’s one of those horses, she was bought to go jumping and she has won over the sticks but she is pretty good on the flat too.

“We wondered if that distance might be a bit short but we also knew they would go a fast pace and that might make it more like a 2400m race.

“Hollie rode her well, I have been communicating with her via text during the lead-up.”

Plans for True Self are fluid but Henderson says that the long-range target will be a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, a race for which she has failed to make the field previously.

Her record at Flemington is terrific, however, as she has won the last two runnings of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a group 3 handicap over 2500m, and earlier in her life ran a close second to Prince of Arran in the Geelong Cup.

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Loujain al-Hathloul: Saudi women’s rights activist freed after 1,000 days in prison on ‘spurious’ charges | World News

Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been released from prison after spending more than 1,000 days behind bars.

Her sister Lina posted the news on Twitter with a screenshot of a smiling Loujian speaking to her via video call but warned that while she was out of jail she was still not fully “free”.

She said: “Loujain is at home, but she is not free.

“The fight is not over. I am not fully happy without the release of all political prisoners.”

Another sister, Alia, posted the caption: “This is the best day of my life. Loujain is in our parent’s home.”

There has been widespread global condemnation over Ms al-Hathloul’s arrest in 2018 when she was detained along with other prominent human rights campaigners.

Human rights experts from the United Nations called the charges levelled against her “spurious” whilst Human Rights Watch called her conviction a “travesty of justice”.

A statement released by Amnesty International expressed relief at her release but claimed Ms al-Hathloul had been “vindictively punished for bravely defending women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and for exercising her right to freedom of expression”.

Last December, Saudi Arabia’s specialised Criminal Court sentenced the 31-year old activist to six years in jail under sweeping counter-terrorism laws. But it suspended two years and 10 months of the sentence paving the way for her release.

She remains under probation and faces a lengthy travel ban according to her family.

Ms al-Hathloul rose to prominence in 2013 when she, along with other women’s rights activists, posted videos of herself driving in Saudi Arabia when it was still illegal for women to drive in the Kingdom.

Loujain al-Hathloul drives towards the United Arab Emirates – Saudi Arabia border before her arrest Pic: Associated Press

The following year she was detained for more than two months after she attempted to drive from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates.

She has been a persistent and outspoken critic of Saudi’s male guardianship system and a vocal promoter of women’s rights in the Kingdom – all issues that were raised in her first trial session.

During the trial, her sister, Lina al-Hathloul spoke to Sky News expressing deep concerns over the physical and mental well-being of the jailed human rights campaigner claiming she was subjected to sexual abuse and torture.

Loujain al-Hathloul (L) and her sister Lina al-Hathloul
Loujain al-Hathloul (L) and her sister Lina al-Hathloul

“She was on a hunger strike…her body was really shaking and her voice was very low,” she said.

“Psychologically and morally, she’s holding on, but she’s the weakest my parents have ever seen her.”

The claims are disputed by the Saudi authorities.

In an interview with Sky News in November last year, the country’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered an investigation into allegations of abuse and torture.

Ms al-Hathloul’s release comes as the administration of new US President Joe Biden warned it was expecting Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record – and release women’s rights activists and political prisoners.

The US State Department welcomed the news.

While Saudi had close ties to the former Trump administration, it is thought President Biden could take a tougher line on America’s key ally in the region.

During the election campaign he vowed to “reassess” the relationship with Riyadh. And last week he announced the withdrawal of American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

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Johnson takes lead into final day in Saudi

World No.1 Dustin Johnson will take a two-shot lead into the final round as he bids to win the Saudi International for the second time in three years.

Johnson, who was also runner-up in 2020, completed a delayed second round of 64 on Saturday morning and then added a 66 to reach 13 under par, with France’s Victor Perez also shooting 66 to lie in second place on 11 under.

Tyrrell Hatton, who won in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago, is a shot further back alongside fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan, American Tony Finau and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.

After completing the final four holes of round two in one under par, Johnson began the third round a shot off the lead shared by Ryan Fox and Stephen Gallacher.

Four birdies in the first 10 holes saw the Masters champion cruise into a two-shot lead and his only blemish of the week so far came when he found the water with his approach to the 13th to run up a double-bogey six.

“Felt like I played really well all day, other than 13, but I didn’t think I hit that bad a shot,” said Johnson, who birdied the 17th and 18th to give him an average of 66.18 from his 11 rounds at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

“I pushed it a hair right of the flag but just came up well short of where I thought it would and ended up making six there.

“But other than that, I drove it well and hit a lot of really good iron shots … I didn’t hole a whole lot of putts, but finishing nicely definitely helped the day out.”

Perez carded four birdies in a bogey-free 66 and is relishing playing alongside Johnson in the final round as he looks to boost his chances of qualifying for a Ryder Cup debut in September.

“I think that’s as good as it gets and I’ll be very excited for the challenge,” Perez said.

Sergio Garcia’s 64 was the lowest round of the day and lifted the Spaniard into a seven-strong group on nine under par which also contains Viktor Hovland and Scotland’s Calum Hill.

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ASX sags as banks, CSL weigh; Energy firms soar on Saudi oil cut

The ASX 200 dropped as much as 0.6% at the open as US voters head to the polls for the Georgia Senate run-off. The energy firms were higher but the banks and CSL fell. 

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Saudi offers extra oil output cut as part of OPEC+ deal: Sources

Saudi Arabia has offered to make voluntary cuts in its oil output in February in a bid to persuade fellow OPEC+ producers to hold steady amid concerns that new coronavirus lockdowns will hit demand.

Two OPEC sources said Saudi Arabia made the offer on Tuesday at a meeting of OPEC+, which combines OPEC producers and others including Russia, after failed talks on Monday.

It was not clear how much Saudi Arabia offered to cut on its own.

OPEC+ sources told Reuters that Russia and Kazakhstan were pushing for the group to raise production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) while Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates suggested holding output steady.

An internal OPEC+ document, seen by Reuters on Tuesday and dated Jan. 4, set out several scenarios for 2021, including the possibility of cutting by 500,000 bpd in February.

It highlighted bearish risks and “stressed that the reimplementation of COVID-19 containment measures across continents, including full lockdowns, are dampening the oil demand rebound in 2021”.

Three OPEC+ sources said chances of a collective cut were slim as very few producers supported it and most countries favoured either steady supply or an increase in February.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Monday said OPEC+ should be cautious, despite a generally optimistic market environment, as demand for fuel remained fragile and variants of the coronavirus were unpredictable.

New variants of the coronavirus first reported in Britain and South Africa have since been found in countries across the world.

OPEC+ producers have been curbing output to support prices and reduce oversupply since January 2017.

As COVID-19 hammered demand for gasoline and aviation fuel, benchmark Brent oil futures plunged below $16 a barrel last April, forcing OPEC+ to boost its output cuts to a record 9.7 million bpd in mid-2020.

With Brent holding above $50 per barrel, OPEC+ took the opportunity to raise output by 500,000 bpd in January, putting its current cuts at 7.2 million bpd.

Brent was trading up nearly 4% at above $53 per barrel at 1626 GMT.

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Gulf Rivals Reconcile At Saudi Summit, Ending Long Rift

Saudi Arabia and its allies have restored full relations with Qatar, Riyadh said Tuesday after a landmark summit, ending a damaging rift that erupted in 2017.

Four nations, led by Saudi, cut ties and transport links with Qatar in June that year, alleging it backed radical Islamist groups and was too close to Riyadh’s rival Iran — allegations Doha denied.

Saudi said that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt were joining it in re-establishing ties with Qatar, whose ruler was greeted with a warm embrace on arrival in the kingdom by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“What happened today is… the turning of the page on all points of difference and a full return of diplomatic relations,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said following the summit in the desert city of Al-Ula.

Leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signed two documents on Tuesday, the Al-Ula Declaration and a final communique, described by Prince Mohammed as affirming “our Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability”.

Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is given a warm welcome by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his first visit after three and a half years of broken relations, fueling hopes of rapprochement at a Gulf summit
 Saudi Royal Palace / BANDAR AL-JALOUD

He called for unity to confront challenges facing the region, singling out “the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme and its plans for sabotage and destruction.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later took to Twitter to offer “congratulations to Qatar for the success of its brave resistance to pressure and extortion”.

“To our Arab neighbours: Iran is neither an enemy nor threat. Enough scapegoating — especially with your reckless patron on his way out,” Zarif added, an apparent reference to outgoing US President Donald Trump, an Iran hawk whose mandate ends on January 20.

The GCC consists of three of the countries that boycotted Qatar – Saudi, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — neutral Oman and Kuwait, and Qatar.

Prince Mohamed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, extended an enthusiastic welcome to Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, after the emir landed in the kingdom for the first time since the crisis began.

Saudi King Salman chats with Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha in December 2016, six months before the Gulf crisis erupted

Saudi King Salman chats with Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha in December 2016, six months before the Gulf crisis erupted
 Saudi Royal Palace / BANDAR AL-JALOUD

Sheikh Tamim was whisked with the other leaders through Al-Ula’s dramatic Martian-like landscape to the shimmering Maraya Concert Hall, a mirrored structure situated in a nearby valley.

Later, Saudi state media tweeted a photo of the young Saudi leader behind the wheel of a sports utility vehicle, taking Sheikh Tamim on a tour of the area.

Washington had intensified pressure for a resolution to what Doha called a “blockade”, insisting Gulf unity is necessary to isolate US foe Iran as the curtain falls on Trump’s presidency.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser who shuttled around the region to seek a deal, attended the signing in Al-Ula.

“The Trump administration will claim this as another victory for sure,” said Royal United Services Institute analyst Tobias Borck.

A lone police car surveys the closed Abu Samra border crossing between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in June 2017

A lone police car surveys the closed Abu Samra border crossing between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in June 2017

Drivers south of Doha on the usually calm Salwa highway towards the Saudi border at Abu Samra sounded their horns and waved their arms from their car windows, an AFP correspondent reported.

“We will see all Saudis here, also all Qataris will visit Saudi Arabia, and we will be friends as we were before and better,” said Doha-based Hisham al-Hashmi, a Qatari with an Emirati mother, who wore a traditional thobe and winter headdress.

Saudi media, which is influential throughout the region, quickly adopted a pro-unity tone in stark contrast to scathing past coverage of Qatar.

Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera’s coverage of Saudi Arabia was also markedly more muted than in recent years.

Meanwhile a Qatari business delegation flew from Saudi to Cairo to open a luxury hotel in the Egyptian capital.

The Saudi-led GCC hawks, along with Egypt, in 2017 closed their airspace to Qatari planes, sealed their borders and ports, and expelled Qatari citizens. An information battle raged online with the two camps trading barbs, deepening the resentments.

Some observers had warned that the UAE could be the spoiler for reconciliation attempts, having heaped criticism on Qatar.

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, said the summit had brought unity to the region.

“The changes and challenges surrounding us require strength, cohesion and real Gulf cooperation,” he tweeted.

The UAE and Qatar in particular remain divided over Doha’s perceived support for movements aligned to the Muslim Brotherhood and the two countries’ backing for rival groups in Libya’s conflict.

“The crisis played a major role in redefining existing partnerships and forging new ones,” said Saudi researcher Eman Alhussein, a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

“As a result, it will be unlikely to see things change to how they were before the crisis,” she added.

The diplomatic freeze only served to make Qatar more self-sufficient and push it closer to Iran, hurting Saudi’s interests, observers say.

At the start of the crisis, the boycotting countries issued a list of 13 demands to Doha, including the closure of Al-Jazeera and the shuttering of a Turkish military base in Qatar.

Qatar has not publicly bowed to any of the demands.

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Saudi Arabia opens borders to Qatar, ending bitter Gulf dispute

While the Saudi decision marks a major milestone toward resolving the Gulf spat, the path toward full reconciliation is far from guaranteed.

Following Kuwait’s announcement, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted that his country was keen to restore Gulf unity. However, he cautioned: “We have more work to do and we are in the right direction.”

The lifting of the embargo by Saudi Arabia paves the way for Qatar’s ruler to attend an annual summit of Gulf leaders held in the kingdom’s ancient desert site of Al-Ula.


State-run Qatari media confirmed Sheikh Tamim would be attending the summit, a move that analysts say would have been domestically sensitive for him had the Saudi blockade still been in place.

This year, Egypt’s president has also been invited to attend the summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

The decision to end the Saudi embargo comes just weeks after President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, visited the kingdom and Qatar in a final push by the administration to secure a diplomatic breakthrough.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, meets with Senior Advisor to the U.S. President, Jared Kushner in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.Credit:Saudi Press Agency

It also comes just ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Saudi Arabia may be seeking to both grant the Trump administration a final diplomatic win and remove stumbling blocs to building ties with the Biden administration.

At heart are concerns that Qatar’s close relations with Turkey and Iran have undermined regional security. Egypt and the UAE view Qatar and Turkey’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat and have deemed the group a terrorist organisation. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are primarily concerned with Qatar’s close ties with regional foe Iran.

Those simmering tensions came to a boil in the summer of 2017, when the four countries announced their blockade on Qatar and cut all transport and diplomatic links with it. The move frayed social ties, separating families who’d intermarried with Qataris. It also pushed Qatar diplomatically closer to Turkey and Iran, which both rushed to Doha’s aid with food and medical supplies that had been in short supply in the first days of the embargo.

Gas-rich Qatar also took an economic hit from the blockade, and its national airline was forced to take longer and more costly routes. It was unclear how the blockade would impact its ability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The blockading countries made a list of demands on Qatar that included shuttering its flagship Al Jazeera news network and terminating Turkish military presence in Qatar, which is also home to a major US military base. Qatar has outright rejected the demands, and has denied that its support of Islamist groups indicates support for violent extremists.

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Saudi Arabia sentences women’s rights activits Loujain al-Hathloul to prison

A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison in a trial that has drawn international condemnation.

Ms al-Hathloul, 31, has been held for more than two years following her arrest along with at least a dozen other women’s rights activist.

The verdict was handed down on Monday, according to the Sabq and al-Shark al-Awsat newspapers, and poses an early challenge to Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s relationship with US president-elect Joe Biden.

Mr Biden has previously described the Saudi Government as a “pariah” for its human rights record.

Ms al-Hathloul was charged with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security, local media said.

The court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence, the time served since Ms al-Hathloul was arrested on May 15, 2018.


United Nations human rights experts have described the charges against her as spurious and, along with leading rights groups and lawmakers in the United States and Europe, have called for her release.

The detentions of women activists occurred shortly before and after the kingdom lifted a ban on women driving, which many activists had long championed.

The change was part of reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that were also accompanied by a crackdown on dissent and an anti-corruption purge.

Ms al-Hathloul’s sentencing came almost three weeks after a Riyadh court jailed US-Saudi physician Walid al-Fitaihi for six years on vague charges related to criticising the government, despite US pressure to release him.

Rights groups have labelled the imprisonment as politically motivated.


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Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist who applied for UN job jailed for six years – World News

A Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist who applied for a job at the United Nations has been jailed for nearly six years.

Loujain al-Hathloul, 31, has been held since 2018 following her arrest along with at least a dozen other activists.

Today, a Saudi court sentenced her to five years and eight months in prison, her family and local media said.

Hathloul was charged with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security, Sabq and al-Shark al-Awsat newspapers said.

The court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence – most of the time already served since her arrest on May 15, 2018 – with a conditional release to follow, the newspapers and Hathloul’s sister said.

She could therefore be released around the end of February 2021, with a return to prison possible if she commits any crime, according to the newspapers.

Hathloul was also given a five-year travel ban, her sister Lina tweeted, adding that both the public prosecutor and Hathloul could appeal the judge’s verdict.

The activist championed women’s right to drive and for ending the kingdom’s male guardian system

The trial has drawn international condemnation as Riyadh faces renewed US scrutiny.

The verdict poses an early challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s relationship with US President-elect Joe Biden, who has criticised Riyadh’s human rights record.

UN human rights experts have called the charges “spurious” and along with leading rights groups and politicians in the United States and Europe have called for the woman’s release.

Hathloul, who had championed women’s right to drive and for ending the kingdom’s male guardian system, was subjected to abuse, including electric shocks, waterboarding, flogging and sexual assault, rights groups and her family say.

Saudi authorities have denied the charges.

The criminal court last week cleared the prosecution of torturing Hathloul in detention, saying there was no evidence to support the allegations.

Hathloul’s sentencing came nearly three weeks after a Riyadh court jailed US-Saudi physician Walid al-Fitaihi for six years, despite US pressure to release him, in a case rights groups have called politically motivated.

Foreign diplomats said the two trials aimed to send a message at home and abroad that Saudi Arabia would not yield to pressure on human rights issues.

Riyadh could also use the sentences as leverage in future negotiations with the Biden administration, one diplomat said.

Joe Biden has said he will take a firmer line with the kingdom – an oil titan and a major buyer of American arms – than President Donald Trump, who was a strong supporter of Prince Mohammed.

Activist Hathloul rose to prominence in 2013 when she began publicly campaigning for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials have said the arrests of women activists were made on suspicion of harming Saudi interests and offering support to hostile elements abroad.

Some of the women detainees have been released while their trials continued.

Activist Nassimah al-Saadah was sentenced to five years in prison with two suspended in late November, according to Human Rights Watch.

Hathloul’s family made her charge sheet public after her case was transferred to Riyadh’s Specialised Criminal Court, originally established to try terrorism suspects but which has been used over the past decade to prosecute perceived dissidents.

The main charges against Hathloul, which carried up to a 20-year sentence, include: seeking to change the Saudi political system, calling for an end to male guardianship, attempting to apply for a UN job, attending digital privacy training, communicating with international rights groups and other Saudi activists.

Hathloul was also charged with speaking to foreign diplomats and with international media about women’s rights in the kingdom, including Reuters, which declined to comment.

“The case against Loujain, based solely on her human rights activism, is a travesty of justice and reveals the depths to which they will go to root out independent voices,” said Adam Coogle of Human Rights Watch.

The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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