06.23.20

Schiff Sends Letter to Saudi Arabian Ambassador Regarding Welfare of Detained Women’s Rights Activist Loujain al-Hathloul

Hathloul Has Been Held Without Trial Since 2018, Subjected to Physical and Mental Torture

Washington D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff sent a letter to Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States, regarding the deeply alarming and dangerous continued detention of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul amidst a global pandemic that has taken the lives of many Saudis and Americans alike.

“Ms. al-Hathloul has been detained without trial since May 2018. Her trial has been repeatedly delayed without explanation, nor has the evidence of her supposed crimes been described. She has been held for long periods without contact with her family, and she has reportedly been subjected to physical and mental torture while in prison as well as threats of rape and murder,” Rep. Schiff wrote in the letter. “I request an update on Ms. al-Hathloul’s condition, and reiterate my previously stated concerns about her welfare, and the well-being of other individuals in Saudi Arabia who, much like you, have peacefully advocated for women’s rights.”

In July 2019, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 345,  calling attention to the Kingdom’s continued imprisonment of Ms. al-Hathloul and other women’s rights activists as it recognized widening threats to freedom of the press and expression worldwide.

In January 2019, Rep. Schiff sent a letter to Her Royal Highness’ predecessor, His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud regarding the continued detention of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. He did not receive a response.

The full text of the letter is below:

June 23, 2020

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Via email: usemb@mofa.gov.sa

Re: Loujain al-Hathloul

Your Royal Highness, 

I am writing to follow up on the January 7, 2019 letter I sent to your predecessor regarding the wrongful imprisonment of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. The continued detention of Ms. al-Hathloul, amidst a global pandemic that has taken the lives of many Saudis and Americans alike, is deeply alarming and in light of conditions during this pandemic, also dangerous.

As you know, Ms. al-Hathloul has been detained without trial since May 2018. Her trial has been repeatedly delayed without explanation, nor has the evidence of her supposed crimes been described. She has been held for long periods without contact with her family, and she has reportedly been subjected to physical and mental torture while in prison, as well as threats of rape and murder.

I am not alone in my continued concerns about this case and others involving the detention and imprisonment of peaceful advocates for women’s rights. In July 2019, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 345, calling attention to the Kingdom’s continued imprisonment of Ms. al-Hathloul and other women’s rights activists as it recognized widening threats to freedom of the press and expression worldwide. Saudi Arabia’s failure to address these and related concerns will be a factor in decisions that Congress makes regarding future U.S. cooperation with and support for the Kingdom.

I request an update on Ms. al-Hathloul’s condition, and reiterate my previously stated concerns about her welfare, and the well-being of other individuals in Saudi Arabia who, much like you, have peacefully advocated for women’s rights. I appreciate your attention and assistance.

Sincerely,

Adam B. Schiff

United States House of Representatives

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