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Saudi activist sentenced to 11 years in jail ‘over selection of clothes’ | World Information

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A ladies’s rights activist and health influencer from Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 11 years in jail over her selection of garments, human rights teams have claimed.

Manahel al-Otaibi was sentenced in January however particulars of her case solely not too long ago emerged in Saudi Arabia’s formal reply to a United Nations human rights request after the nation claimed she was jailed for “terrorist offences”.

Within the letter, the conservative nation outlined their case for arresting and charging the 29-year-old.

They claimed she was arrested over “terrorist offences” – a story challenged by Amnesty Worldwide and Al Qst, a Saudi human rights group primarily based in London.

The human rights teams warned that Ms Al-Otaibi was really jailed over her selection of clothes and social media posts the place she posted the hashtag “abolish male guardianship”.

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Manahel al-Otaibi. Pic: ALQST/AP

Ms Al-Otaibi wore what had been deemed to be “indecent garments” in movies and went buying with out an abaya, an extended gown, the teams stated.

Saudi Arabia claimed that Ms Al-Otaibi was “convicted of terrorist offences that haven’t any bearing on her train of freedom of opinion and expression or her social media posts”.

Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism regulation, underneath which Ms Al-Otaibi was convicted, has been criticised by the United Nations as an excessively broad software to stifle dissent.

Bissan Fakih, Amnesty Worldwide’s campaigner on Saudi Arabia, stated: “Manahel’s conviction and 11-year sentence is an appalling and merciless injustice.

“With this sentence, the Saudi authorities have uncovered the hollowness of their much-touted ladies’s rights reforms lately and demonstrated their chilling dedication to silencing peaceable dissent.”

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Lina Alhathloul, Al Qst’s head of monitoring and advocacy, stated: “Manahel’s confidence that she may act with freedom may have been a Positive commercial for Mohammed bin Salman‘s much-touted narrative of main ladies’s rights reforms within the nation.

“As a substitute, by arresting her and now imposing this outrageous sentence on her, the Saudi authorities have as soon as once more laid naked the arbitrary and contradictory nature of their so-called reforms, and their persevering with dedication to regulate Saudi Arabia’s ladies.”

Saudi Arabia denied allegations from the properly established human rights teams in its letter to the UN.

Saudi Arabia’s worldwide media workplace and the UN Human Rights Workplace have been approached for remark.

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The women's rights activist was sentenced in January
The ladies’s rights activist was sentenced in January

Ms Al-Otaibi was first arrested on 16 November 2022 and detained in a ladies’s jail in Riyadh, in line with Saudi Arabia.

She was ultimately discovered responsible of “having dedicated terrorist offences” and handed her sentence on 9 January 2024.

Nonetheless, the charity teams stated that Ms Al-Otaibi “forcibly disappeared” from November 2023 till April 2024, when she was capable of contact her household once more. She informed them she was being held in solitary confinement and had a damaged leg following alleged bodily abuse.

Her sister, Fawzia al Otaibi, additionally confronted comparable expenses however fled Saudi Arabia after being summoned for questioning in 2022, fearing arrest.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto chief, got here to energy in 2017 promising widespread social and financial reforms.

He eased some curbs in male guardianship legal guidelines, and allowed ladies to drive automobiles, get a passport, journey alone, register births, deaths and divorces. Nonetheless, the legal guidelines nonetheless make it tougher for girls to acquire a divorce than a person.

The dominion nonetheless faces scrutiny over its human rights report and rights activists have stated that Saudi Arabian ladies proceed to face restrictions.

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