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Saudi Arabia releases women's driving activist after three years in jail

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This undated handout picture released on the Facebook page of Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul shows her posing for a picture in a dress by a beach.
This undated handout picture released on the Facebook page of Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul shows her posing for a picture in a dress by a beach.   -   Copyright  Credit: AFP
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A prominent human rights activist has been released after three years in jail for pushing to end Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving.

Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to six years in prison in December 2020 on charges of agitating for change and pursuing a foreign agenda under the kingdom's broad counterterrorism law.

But on Wednesday her sister, Lina al-Hathloul, tweeted that she was finally home along with a screenshot from FaceTime.

Her early release was widely expected as the judge suspended part of her sentence and gave her credit for time already served, but it comes as Saudi Arabia has had to deal with the diplomatic challenge of President Joe Biden replacing Donald Trump in the White House.

Biden has already withdrawn U.S. backing for Saudi Arabia's five-year conflict in Yemen and vowed to re-assess the U.S.-Saudi partnership fostered under Trump.

Al-Hathloul will remain under strict conditions including a five-year travel ban and three years of probation.

Saudi Arabia officially lifted its ban on women driving in 2018.