Nov 23, 2020
Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.
On November 5 a United Nations committee on women’s rights called on Saudi Arabia to immediately release Loujain al‑Hathloul and all other women’s rights activists.
Loujain al‑Hathloul campaigned for the right of Saudi women to drive, and for an end to the system of guardianship which puts women at the total mercy of men. She has been on a hunger strike since October 26. Her family denounces the torture she has suffered since her arrest in May 2018.
Up to 200 activists languish in the prisons of Saudi dictator Mohammed bin Salman. They are sentenced to hundreds of lashes with whips. Women accused of adultery are assaulted with stones. Some convicts are beheaded. A year and a half ago 37 Saudi men were executed. According to Amnesty International, most were Shiite Muslims. At least 15 had demonstrated against the government in 2001 and 2012 in the eastern province, which is majority Shiite and quite poor. They told the court they were tortured during interrogation to get them to confess. Abdulkareem al Hawaj was only 16 at the time of his arrest but was also executed.
But the leaders of so‑called democratic countries like the U.S. and France roll out the red carpet for this barbaric regime. The president of France always denounces Islamic fundamentalism, except when it comes to the Saudi regime. There’s no mystery what’s going on. The Saudi regime is a strong supporter of imperialist interests in the Middle East. It is an important market for arms merchants who make their fortunes by producing weapons of death. Cities and villages in Yemen are being destroyed now in the ongoing war there.
Despite all his declarations of alleged reforms, the dictatorship of Mohammed bin Salman weighs heavily on the Saudi people, with the complicity of the leaders of the imperialist countries like the U.S. and France.