France honored human rights activist, Lujain Al-Hathloul, who was detained on the background of opinion in the prisons of the Saudi regime, by granting her Freedom Award 2020.
Lujain’s winning of the prestigious international award is a big embarrassment to the Saudi regime, which has continues to arbitrarily arrest her since May 15, 2018, as part of a campaign of arrests that included human rights activists, including Aziza Al-Youssef and Iman Al-Nafjan.
The reasons for the arrest of Al-Hathloul remain unknown, but the local media has reported that the reason for the arrest is “bypassing religious and national constants” as well as “communicating with suspicious foreign entities”, which are broad charges that the regime uses to justify the repression.
Human rights activists stressed the need for the immediate release of Al-Hathloul and not to place restrictions on it after the release, such as the arbitrary travel ban, in order to be able to receive her prize on October 2 in the French city of Cannes.
Eight members of the US Congress nominated Al-Hathloul for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her courage and efforts in the struggle for women’s rights.
American representatives urged the committee concerned to consider carefully the nomination of Al-Hathloul; because she “embodies the peaceful struggle for equality in Saudi Arabia.”
In a speech, members of Congress stated that “Al-Hathloul paved the way for reforms during the past two years, including ending the ban on women driving cars, easing male guardianship over women, and domestic violence” in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hathloul has been in prison since May 2018, along with a number of women’s rights activists.
Al-Hathloul, one of dozens of detainees defending women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, is being tried for “treason”, but human rights organizations confirm that her arrest comes as part of a fierce crackdown on freedom of expression, especially after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took office in 2015.
Activists, including her sister Lina Al-Hathloul, who lives in Belgium as a political refugee, confirm that Al-Hathloul is held in solitary confinement, ill-treated, and subjected to torture, including electrocution, skin and sexual assault.
It is reported that last year, Al-Hathloul rejected an offer to release her in exchange for a video statement denying reports of her being tortured while in detention.
Al-Hathloul’s brothers explained earlier that the Saudi crown prince’s adviser involved in the murder of Khashoggi, Saud Al-Qahtani, was present during some torture sessions and threatened their sister with rape and murder, while the Saudi public prosecutor said that his office investigated these allegations and concluded that they were incorrect.
It is noteworthy that the literary and human rights organization Ben America last year honored Al-Hathloul and two other journalists, Iman Al-Nafjan and Nouf Abdulaziz, by awarding them the “Barbie Freedom to Write Award” in recognition of their opposition to the policies and laws that oppress women.