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A New Round between Loujain Al-Hathloul and the Politicized Saudi Judiciary

Together for Justice confirms its full support for the Saudi activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, in her case against the Saudi newspaper, Al-Jazeera, which slandered, defamed, and accused her of treason during the initial period of her arrest by the Saudi authorities.

Loujain Al-Hathloul was arrested in May 2018 as part of a wide campaign targeting a large number of activists and defenders (men and women) for women’s rights and those who demanded the improvement of their social conditions and the removal of restrictions imposed on them for decades, the simplest of which is allowing women to drive.

With the arrest of this group, the local Al-Jazeera newspaper published the news of the arrest of Loujain and others using their names and photos, accusing them of treason and “communicating with suspicious organizations that tried to undermine faith and religion and stir up public opinion.”

This news was part of a media campaign to discredit prisoners of conscience, despite the fact that none of them was presented to any judicial authority, investigated, or had a final ruling issued against them to prove the validity of these accusations, however, the media code of honor was absent when the newspaper editors wrote this news that only serves the regime’s agenda to silence and undermine its opponents.

After her release in the first quarter of this year, Loujain tried to sue this newspaper, but the Saudi judiciary rejected the case for “unreasonable reasons”, according to Loujain’s family. The family said in a statement:

“The case was dismissed for exceeding the legal time limit of 90 days for filing a complaint against the registered media since the publication of this article.

In her appeal, Loujain attempted to emphasize the fact that she was in prison when the article was released, therefore it was impossible for her to appeal within the legally defined time limit and she was not in contact with the outside world for the first four months in her solitary confinement.

 Later during her imprisonment, the option of bringing a case in court was impossible as writing the defense of her main case was made difficult and she was always denied from having the necessary wiring equipment.”

The action of the Saudi newspaper Al-Jazeera is a clear violation of the legal procedures for preserving the identity of the detainees until the case was filed by the Public Prosecution to the court based on official interrogations. However, the court insisted on the legally defined timeframe despite the special circumstances she was under and being deprived of defending herself or appointing a lawyer to represent her.

On August 29, the court rejected Loujaine’s appeal during the second appeal hearing against the court’s decision to dismiss the case on 19 August 2021.

We affirm Loujain Al-Hathloul’s right to defend her reputation and prosecute all those who defamed her. We call on the Saudi authorities to respect human rights and the principle of the rule of law and equality between all citizens.

Loujain Al-Hathloul is a Saudi citizen who has the right to enjoy all rights guaranteed by Saudi laws, the simplest of which is respect for the right to privacy.

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