January 5, 2021
International community must act to Free Loujain Al-Hathloul – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, today called on the Irish Government to use its new found status as a member of the United Nations Security Council, to mobilise the international community to take action to end the illegal incarceration of the Saudi woman human rights defender, Loujain Al-Hathloul.
Teachta Brady said:
“On 28 December, the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court, which was established to deal with terrorist offences, sentenced Loujain Al-Hathloul, whose only crime was to ask to be treated as an equal, to five years and eight months in prison.
“The sentencing of Al-Hathloul, represents the culmination of a long-standing campaign by the Saudi authorities to silence the woman human rights defender.
“It is the silencing of woman human rights defenders that lies at the heart of the Saudi case. When she has served her sentence, Al-Hathloul will be subject to a five-year travel ban in a continuing attempt to silence her voice.
“Over the course of her detention, Al-Hathloul, along with other woman human rights defenders, Samar Badawi and Nassima Al Sada, were subjected to torture, including flogging and electric shocks, sexual abuse and solitary confinement.
“Some of the charges against Loujain Al Hathloul include communicating with journalists and attempting to apply for a job with the United Nations.

“And while Ireland has worked alongside other EU Member States to ensure that human rights issues in Saudi Arabia are being raised with the authorities there, this does not appear to be having the impact that is required. 

“An EU Delegation has raised the cases of the detention of women human rights defenders directly with the Saudi authorities on multiple occasions and at various levels, again to little avail.

“I believe that Ireland, as a nation that has this week taken up its position on the UN Security Council, needs to utilise its position and status to bring the focus of the world on the plight of oppressed human rights defenders across the globe.”

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