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AI: Saudi Arabia Arrests Prominent Women’s Rights Activist

Saudi Arabia has arrested a prominent activist who was campaigning for women’s right to drive cars in the ultra-conservative kingdom, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The arrest of Loujain Al-Hathloul at an airport “is absurd and unjustifiable,’’ the rights group said in a statement.

In 2014, Al-Hathloul was detained for more than two months after attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.

“Instead of upholding its promise of a more tolerant Saudi Arabia, the government has again shattered any notion that it is genuinely committed to upholding equality and human rights,’’ said Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s campaign director for the Middle East.

Women are not allowed to drive cars in the kingdom.

King Salman recently ordered that the long-standing guardianship rule, which denied women access to government services if they did not have a male relative’s consent.

Human Rights Watch had said the system was “effectively leaving adult women legal minors who cannot make key decisions for themselves.’’

However, women continue to require a male guardian’s approval to travel abroad or get married.

President Donald Trump recently visited Saudi Arabia and his public speeches notably did not focus on human rights issues.

 

 

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