The US President, Joe Biden, welcomed the Saudi authorities ’decision to release the human rights activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, describing it as the right course of action.
“I would like to start with the welcome news that the Saudi government has released the prominent human rights activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, from prison,” Biden said in a speech he gave at the Pentagon on Wednesday night.
The US President added, “She was a strong defender of women’s rights, and her release is a correct procedure.”
The Al-Hathloul family announced, earlier on Wednesday, that the Saudi authorities had released her while she was “at home” now.
On December 28, the Saudi judiciary sentenced Al-Hathloul to 5 years and 8 months in prison, in a trial that sparked international condemnation.
Al-Hathloul, 31, has been in the custody of the authorities since May 15, 2018, after her arrest along with at least 12 women’s rights activists.
Observers considered the ruling to imprison Al-Hathloul as an early challenge to the relationship of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the new US president, who described Riyadh as a “pariah” because of its record in the field of human rights.
Since taking office on January 20, the Biden administration has repeatedly confirmed that it will raise the issue of human rights in Saudi Arabia during contacts with its government, and has just taken a decision to stop supporting the operations of the Arab coalition led by the Kingdom in Yemen as part of the policy of tightening Washington’s approach towards Riyadh.