Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul faces trial in terrorism court

Welcome to Inshallah, the weekly newsletter to enhance your knowledge about the news from the Middle East.

Welcome to Inshallah, the newsletter delivering news from the Middle East every week. My name is Dario Sabaghi, ready to chant: Accuracy! Terseness! Accuracy!

  • Saudi Arabia moved the activist Loujain al-Hathloul to a court for terror-related crimes. Al-Hathloul is a prominent women’s rights activist was arrested along with other female activists on the charge of attempting to destabilize the kingdom in May 2018, some weeks before Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on female drivers. She went on a hunger strike in October for several weeks to protest against her prison conditions, according to Al-Jazeera. In the meantime, international human rights organizations are pressing the international community to take action to free her.

  • President-elect Joe Biden named Antony Blinken as his pick for Secretary of State. The foreign policy veteran has worked alongside Biden for nearly two decades. Here you find a road map of the future US administration in the Middle East.

  • Iran has freed the British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, detained in the country for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians held abroad. She was initially charged with espionage in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years. Read more here

  • Human Rights Watch criticizes draft law on information technology crimes that could reduce free expression in Iraq. Authorities would punish whoever they decide constitutes a threat to governmental, social, or religious interests. Several articles appear to conflict with international law and the Iraqi constitution, and it would seriously limit the right to freedom of expression and association.

  • Italian prosecutors are going to conclude an investigation on five Egyptian security officials suspected of torturing and killing the Cambridge Ph.D. student Giulio Regeni in 2016. Due to the Egyptian government's repeated obstructions and denials of their involvement behind the murder, the Egyptian officials will likely be tried in absentia. If you want to read more about the violation of human rights in Egypt, I have written an op-ed for The New Arab about the arrest of the Egyptian activist Patrick George Zaky and the involvement of Italy to quest his release.

  • As the conflict in Ethiopia intensified, the United Arab Emirates has emerged as a key player, given its relationships with both Ethiopia and Eritrea. But the United Arab Emirates' support for the Ethiopian regime threatens to strain Emirati-Egyptian relations. Egypt might step in to support the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), putting Cairo and Abu Dhabi in indirect conflict, Khalid Hassan writes in an article for Al-Monitor. If you are interested to learn more about the current crisis in Ethiopia, read this Q&A article focused on existing and emerging international law issues in the Ethiopia conflict.

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