Families of Saudi Arabia’s ‘most spoken’ political prisoner have asked the G20 to take the state into account

Families of Saudi Arabia's 'most spoken' political prisoner have asked the G20 to take the state into account
The G-20 leaders are meeting this week at a virtual summit hosted by Riyadh, which is currently the head of a club of rich countries. The incident has revived the debate over the state’s human rights violations under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Who have embarked on a rapid succession of reforms, while also putting pressure on dissent in the state.

“It is the duty of the international community to inquire about (Lujain). It is the duty of the international community to tell Saudi Arabia that it will not accept the reforms it is making,” said Lina, the sister of Lujain al-Hathlol. Al-Hathlol, told CNN. “It is the duty of the international community to call for Lugain’s release.”

Amnesty International Urged world leaders “Don’t buy spin: Saudi Arabia’s real changers are in jail.” Human Rights Watch said the summit “A sign of international prestige For the government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman but it helps to tarnish the image of the Saudi government as a widespread human rights violator. ”
Hathlol, 31, was sent to jail during an arrest sweep in May 2018 that targeted leading opponents of the state’s former law banning women from driving. The demolition took place just weeks before the ban was lifted. Doubting the prince’s reform agenda.

In an interview with CNN’s Nick Robertson on Friday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adele Zubair said Hathlol’s case was “up to the courts. It is on hearing for matters related to national security.”

“The idea that she and her friends were detained because they advocated women driving is insolent,” Zubair said. “(The plan to lift the ban on women) was ordered by Majesty (King Salman) just six months before his detention. And for every woman in Saudi Arabia who advocates for women to drive, half the women will be in prison in Saudi Arabia.”

Inside Six-page chargesheet for Hathlol’s caseSeen by CNN, the “Crimes” section includes activism against the state’s restricted male guardianship law, with contact with foreign journalists and diplomats.

The allegations are based on a series of confessions, according to documents, which state that Hathlol confessed to being in contact with human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch with his confession to apply for a job at the UN.

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‘Mentally destroyed’ in prison

For his very imprisonment, Hathlol has described in detail his troubles – which include Allegations of torture and sexual abuse – To his parents during a visit to the prison. Those allegations were later made public His three siblings Who lived outside the state, and were Confirmed by the testimony of the court Of other women activists.

Saudi officials have repeatedly denied allegations of torture and sexual harassment in their prisons.

For most of 2020, Hathaway refused regular calls and visits with his family, his siblings added, adding that officials said the coronavirus epidemic was the reason for the suspension of communications.

When his parents last saw Hathlol in August Gust, after the last conversation with him on the phone in April, they found him to be “extremely skinny and extremely weak,” related to Lena.

Yet he appeared headstrong and alert. Lujain told her family that she had been given the visit because she was on a hunger strike and prison officials had accepted their demands. According to Lena, she objected to the suspension of communication after learning that at least one other inmate was still in regular contact with her family.

After a second visit on September 9, Lujain was refused contact with his family again until a visit with his parents on October 26, when he informed them that he would resume the hunger strike, Lena said.

“Lujain was physically fine, but mentally she was destroyed,” Lena said. “My parents told us they never saw Lugain as weak and frustrated as she was on that visit.

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“She told them she would go on a hunger strike that day … My parents tried everything to encourage her but Luzin was sure of what she wanted … She no longer wanted to be in the prison where she is. have is also not allowed. ”

A committee of independent UN experts earlier this month sounded the alarm over reports that Hathlol was in critical condition and criticized Saudi Arabia’s apparent refusal to allow him to contact his family.

U.S. The committee was appalled by the latest information on the conditions of Ms. Al-Hathlol’s lengthy detention, the committee said in a statement on the prevention of discrimination against women.

“Unlike other detainees, and in violation of UN rules 26 and 42 for the treatment of women prisoners and non-custodial measures for women offenders … Ms. Al-Hathlol is not allowed to have regular contact with her family and to carry out activities according to reports received, He said.

Hathlol’s family members say they have not heard from him since October 26.

Saudi officials did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the allegations made by Hathlol’s relatives.

Lina Al-Hathlol and her sister Lujain pictured in a photo from Brussels not on the train.

Hathlol is believed to be currently the most vocal political detainee inside Saudi prisons, known to the outside world and has fueled international atrocities as the state’s imprisonment has created a plight for women officers. Most of the activists detained in the wave of arrests that targeted Hathlol were released in early 2019, following heavy pressure from international pressure.

The 31-year-old activist was one of a handful of women activists who refused to be released. He was placed in solitary confinement in mid-April 2019 and is still there today, his sister said. Lena said that in January 2020, Hathlol was allowed to leave her solitary cell, but after being deprived of interaction for about seven months, she could not adjust to other people’s voices, Lena said. According to his family, he asked to stay in his cell, with one hour of social activities a day.

In August 2019, Saudi officials offered to release Hathlol on condition She denied the allegations, Said his family. She turned down the offer, according to her sisters.

“She doesn’t want to go out and the people who tortured her and imprisoned her with liberation and are able to do this with other women after her,” Lujain’s sister, Lina al-Hathlol, told CNN.

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“He is the most clear (Saudi detainee) behind bars. He will not accept to be released without full and real justice.”

CNN’s Nick Roberts contributed to the Riyadh report.

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