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Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist released from prison

Last Updated Feb 10, 2021 at 9:45 am PDT

FILE - This Nov. 30, 2014 image made from video released by Loujain al-Hathloul, shows her driving towards the United Arab Emirates - Saudi Arabia border before her arrest on Dec. 1, 2014, in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Loujain al-Hathloul, File)

Leading women's rights advocate in Saudi Arabia released from prison, remain under strict conditions

UBC graduate Loujain al-Hathloul

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The family of a Vancouver UBC graduate who is a leading Saudi women’s rights activist says she has been released from prison after nearly three years behind bars.

The sisters of Loujain al-Hathloul announced the news on Twitter Wednesday.

Al-Hathloul, who pushed to end a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, was convicted last December on charges including agitating for change and pursuing a foreign agenda, accusations that rights groups describe as politically motivated.

She was sentenced by a counterterrorism court to almost six years in prison, but the judge suspended part of her sentence and gave her credit for time already served, advancing her release date.

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The release of 31-year-old al-Hathloul on Thursday closes a years-long case that has drawn sharp international criticism of the kingdom’s human rights record.

Al-Hathloul’s family has said she would remain under strict conditions, including a five-year travel ban and three years of probation.