RIYADH—Saudi Arabia released prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul after more than 1,000 days in detention, her family said, less than a month into the administration of President Biden who has pressured Riyadh to improve its human-rights record.
“Loujain is at home. Loujain has been released,” Ms. Hathloul’s sister, Lina, wrote on Twitter . Lina, who lives in Europe, posted a photo of a video call with Loujain showing both women smiling. Loujain, 31 years old, appeared noticeably older in another photo released by her family, with gray streaks in her otherwise jet black hair.
Ms. Hathloul was detained in May 2018, weeks before the lifting of a ban on women driving that she and other detained activists had campaigned against for years. A Saudi terrorism court in a secretive trial sentenced Ms. Hathloul in December to nearly six years in prison on charges of incitement against the regime and serving a foreign agenda.
She was released Wednesday on three years’ probation, with a five-year travel ban, after a reduction for time served. “She is not free. The fight is not over,” her sister tweeted.
Mr. Biden, speaking at the Pentagon, said Ms. Hathloul’s release was welcome news: “She is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, and releasing her was the right thing to do.”