Family of Jailed Women's Rights Activist Want to Sue MBS Aide Acquitted in Khashoggi’s Murder

Published December 24th, 2019 - 08:30 GMT
Family of Jailed Women's Rights Activist Want to Sue MBS Aide Acquitted in Khashoggi’s Murder (Twitter)
Lojain's family reported her being tortured and threatened by Saoud Al Qahtani (Twitter)

The family of imprisoned Saudi activist Loujain Al-Hathloul took to Twitter to announce plans to sue former high-profile Saudi royal adviser Saud Al Qahtani, for torturing and sexually harassing their sister, after he was acquitted of involvement in Khashoggi's murder.

Saud Al Qahtani's name has been frequently linked to the gruesome murder of the Saudi Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 but was cleared of charges after it was declared that there was no evidence of his involvement.

The US has sanctioned Al Qahtani, who was one of the top advisers to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, for his alleged role in the assassination. He was removed from his post after being implicated in Khashoggi's murder. 

After the verdict, Alia and Waleed Al-Hathloul, the two exiled siblings of the Saudi women's rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul, who has been detained in Saudi Arabia for almost two years, announced their plans to sue the most influential aide of the kingdom's crown prince for allegedly torturing and sexually harassing their sister in jail.

According to a 2018 report by Amnesty International, Loujain al-Hathloul was among a group of activists who have reportedly faced sexual harassment, torture and other forms of ill-treatment during interrogation.

Loujain's parents, who are placed under a travel ban, reported seeing torture marks on their daughter's body during a visit. They said her "thighs were blackened by bruises" and that she was "shaking uncontrollably, unable to hold her grip, to walk or sit normally."

In May 2019, Belgium-based Alia al-Hathloul appeared in a France24 interview, detailing the torture her sister has experienced, including being electrocuted, sexually harassed and forced to eat during Ramadan.

She also talked about Saud Al Qahtani personally threatening to rape and kill Loujain, and disposing of her body in the sewage system. Saudi Arabia never responded to these allegations.

In her tweet, Alia talks about suing DREAD (Development Research Exploitation and Analysis Department), which according to a Reuters investigation released earlier this month, was designed and developed in 2008 with the help of former White House seniors and Ex-NSA spies, to help the Gulf monarchies crackdown on political dissidents, human rights activists, and journalists.

The Reuters report uncovered the "Purple Sword" operation, through which Loujain Al-Hathloul was monitored in 2018.

Loujain was kidnapped in March 2018 from the UAE, where she was pursuing her Master's degree, before she was deported to Saudi Arabia's Dhahban Prison. Her arrest was part of a crackdown on the government's critics in 2018.

Al-Hathloul and other Saudi female activists were jailed for defying the driving ban which was lifted in June 2018, while they remained under arrest.

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