Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist released from prison

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The family of 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.

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.

The Associated Press