The top Saudi terrorism court decided Wednesday to release activist Loujain al-Hathloul, after more than two years in prison while the authorities searched for suitable accusations, and following a thorough examination of the results of the American presidential election.
Al-Hathloul was charged with endangering national security, but her innocence became immediately apparent following last week’s announcement by President Joe Biden that the US would halt any assistance for the Saudi war in Yemen and would freeze weapons sales.
Another accusation by Saudi prosecutors that al-Hathloul collaborated with foreign powers was dismissed by the court, which explained in its reasoning that the case fell apart after White House officials indicated they may release more intelligence findings on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi analyst Humaid bin Hammam al-Taboun said al-Hathloul’s release did not mean she would now be free to do as she likes.
“She will live a prisoner like any Saudi woman but with even more restrictions,” he said. “She will be under surveillance for three years and is barred from travel for five years, and at the end of this probation period we will look again at the case pending the next round of US elections.