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Wagner, Frankel, Cicilline, Wild Call for Immediate Release of Saudi Women’s Rights Activists as First Trials Begin

Mar 13, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), David Cicilline (D-RI-01), Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), Vice Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Susan Wild (D-PA-07) released the following statement after the trial of Loujain al-Hathloul and other prominent and longtime women’s rights activists began in Saudi Arabia. According to Hathloul’s family, she will not have access to a lawyer during her trial. She is one of a dozen peaceful advocates who have been unjustly detained in Saudi Arabia since May 2018 for criticism of the government, the driving ban, and the male guardianship system. Some of these prisoners, including Hathloul, have reportedly faced torture and abuse, including sexual violence, beatings, electric shocks, and sleep deprivation.

“The horrific treatment of Loujain al-Hathloul and other Saudi women’s rights activists is a violation of human rights and justice. These women were fighting for fundamental women’s rights only to be thrown in jail without charges and subjected to horrific abuses. Saudi Arabia should immediately release these brave champions and end this abhorrent crackdown. The United States must also take action to convince the Saudi government to relent and hold perpetrators accountable. The world is watching, and America must stand on the side of human rights.”

In February, Rep. Frankel and her colleagues introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Saudi Arabia’s jailing and alleged abuse of women’s rights activists, urging Saudi officials to immediately release the prisoners and hold the perpetrators accountable, and calling on the U.S. government to sanction any Saudi officials responsible.