Monday, 5 January 2015

Women's rights campaigners who tried to drive into Saudi Arabia are to be sent to special 'terrorism' tribunal

Two women's rights campaigners who tried to drive into Saudi Arabia are set to face a special 'terrorism' court, activists said.
Loujain Hathloul, 25, was arrested after she tried to drive into the country from neighbouring United Arab Emirates, flouting the ban on women motorists.
Maysaa Alamoudi, 33, a UAE-based Saudi journalist, arrived at the border to support Hathloul and was also detained. 
Activists claim that it is the first time female motorists have been referred to the criminal court in the capital of Riyadh, which was established to try terrorism cases.
The pair have now been held by the authorities since December 1, and their detention is thought to be the longest yet for any women who defied the driving ban.
Campaigners said investigations surrounding the women appeared to focus on their social media activities rather than their driving.
They now fear the case is being used to send a warning to others pushing for greater rights.
The ruling to send the pair to the special court was made at a hearing in Al-Ahsa, in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, it was claimed.
'They will transfer her case to the terrorism court,' said one activist familiar, who declined to be named, with the Hathloul  case, adding that her lawyer plans to appeal.
A second activist confirmed that Alamoudi's case was also being moved to the specialist tribunal.
Hathloul has 228,000 followers on the social networking site Twitter. Before her arrest she posted details of the 24 hours she spent waiting to cross into Saudi Arabia after border officers stopped her on November 30.

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