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July 31, 2018

Meghan Markle's friend could face up to 20 years in a Saudi prison

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28-year-old Loujain Al-Hathloul, a women’s activist who posed with Duchess Meghan Markle for a Vanity Fair photo shoot in the past, was arrested in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hathloul is a well-known campaigner against the ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia, reported Amnesty, and she was one of the six activists accused of forming a ‘cell’ that was threatening the state security.

It was also said that those people had contact with foreign entities and were trying to ‘undermining the country’s stability and social fabric,’ and Al-Hathloul reportedly confessed it.

Saudi Arabia recently decided that women could drive, so Mirror reported that the state considered the six campaigners were bidding to use the lifting of that driving ban as a ‘springboard’ for further reforms.

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Their final goal is supposed to be ending Saudi Arabia’s restrictive male guardianship system and allowing more freedom of speech. While their objective might be seen as something good for the society, they are facing charges of treason.

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Depending on the final sentence, Al-Hathloul and the rest of the arrested campaigners could get the longest time in prison (20 years), or even the death penalty. Kareem Chehayeb, Saudi Arabia researcher for Amnesty International, spoke up about that topic

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‘The Saudi authorities don’t want any change to come from below. They want to stifle any form of dissent or human rights activism. It appears that the only reforms that are acceptable are those that are coming from above, which is absolutely outrageous,’ said Chehayeb.

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It was also reported that the only ‘crime’ the campaigners did was being women’s rights activists. Al-Hathloul attended a One Young World humanitarian summit two years ago next to Markle, Emma Watson, Cher, and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

One of the photos taken during that event portrays Markle next to Al-Hathloul, the poet Fatima Bhutto, and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

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