RIYADH (Reuters) – The trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, one of nearly a dozen prominent Saudi Arabian women’s rights activists detained since last year, will begin on Wednesday, her family said on Twitter.
Activists claim some detainees, including 29-year-old Hathloul, were held in solitary confinement and subjected to mistreatment and torture, including electric shocks, flogging, and sexual assault. Saudi officials have denied those allegations as “false.”
The arrests have intensified international criticism of Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked global outrage.
Three dozen countries, including all 28 EU members, called on Riyadh last week to release the activists, the first rebuke of the kingdom at the U.N. Human Rights Council since it was set up in 2006.