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Saudi Activist al-Hathloul Released After 1,000 Days in Prison

Women view a tweet posted by Lina, the sister of Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, showing a screenshot of them having a video call following Hathloul's release after nearly three years in detention, Riyadh, Feb. 10, 2021.

Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from a Saudi prison Wednesday, after spending nearly three years behind bars, according to her family.

Hathloul, a 31-year-old activist who has called for reforms to laws governing women, was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to six years in prison on terrorism charges that the United Nations had deemed “spurious.”

“Loujain is at home!!!!!!” her sister Lina tweeted Wednesday.

“We of course welcome her release,” United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

The United States also welcomed the decision.

“Pleased to see the release of Loujain al-Hathloul. This is a good thing,” Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, wrote on Twitter.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi officials.

Al-Hathloul called for reforms such as ending male guardianship laws and allowing women the right to drive, which they now can do.

In 2019, the government eased guardianship laws and allowed women to get passports and travel.

Al-Hathloul continued to advocate for human rights from prison, after being arrested in 2018 along with at least a dozen other Saudi women’s rights activists. Rights groups and her family have said she went on hunger strikes while imprisoned. The activist also alleged she was tortured and sexually assaulted during interrogations.