Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Jailed Saudi activist told to deny torture in release ‘deal’

Saudi authorities have offered to release jailed activist Loujain al Hathloul in exchange for her video testimony denying that she had been tortured and sexually harassed in prison, her family claimed on Tuesday.
“The Saudi state security has visited my sister in prison recently. They have asked her to... appear on video to deny the torture and harassment,” her brother Walid al Hathloul said on Twitter. “That was part of a deal to release her.”
Hathloul, who recently marked her 30th birthday in jail, is among around a dozen of prominent women activists who are currently facing trial after being detained last year in a sweeping crackdown on dissent.
Hathloul was among a few detainees who accused interrogators of torture and sexual harassment, a charge vehemently denied by the government.
Her brother said she had initially agreed to sign a document denying that she had been tortured, as a precondition for her release. He added that her family had intended to keep the deal secret.
But state security officials visited her again to prison to demand a video testimony.
“Asking to appear on a video and to deny the torture doesn’t sound like a realistic demand,” Walid tweeted.