Posted on January 2021
‘Torture Tour’ Dakar Rally to pass within hearing distance of Loujain al-Hathloul’s prison cell
This week’s Dakar Rally is set to pass within a few hundred meters of Riyadh’s Al-Ha’ir prison on 6/7 January, currently home of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hahloul who was last week sentenced to 5 years and 8 months for her campaign for women’s right to drive.
New research from Grant Liberty reveals the Rally:
- Will pass within 1km of al-Ha’ir prison home to Loujain al-Hathloul, and fellow women’s rights activists – who campaigned for the right to drive – Mayaa al-Zahrani and Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jeraiwi
- Began within 20km of Dhahban Central Prison, Jeddah – where Loujain was initially held after and arrest, and currently holds 19 prisoners of conscience including women’s rights activist Samar Badawi
- In total will pass within 20km of 58 prisoners of conscience languish in prisons along the route, 17 of home have been tortured, and four – all women – have been sexually assaulted
The Dakar Rally includes 12 women drivers – until the successful campaigning of Loujain and the 3 other women’s rights activists held in Saudi prisons, they could have faced up to 20 years in prison simply for getting behind the steering wheel.
Publishing the data, Grant Liberty spokesperson Lucy Rae said,
“The Dakar Rally has become the torture tour. It is a sickening irony that as the drivers travel to Saudi Arabia to compete in the race, Loujain al-Hathloul sits in a prison cell just metres from the course.
“Women’s rights activists have endured years in prison, psychological and physical torture, and sexual abuse for campaigning for the right to drive. Many remain in prison to this day. It is utterly grotesque that at the same time Saudi authorities will host a motor sport event – including women drivers – while the heroes that won their right to drive languish in jail.
“This sportswashing pure and simple and it is obscene. The stage should not go ahead competitors should boycott it, and the international community must demand that Saudi Arabia releases all prisoners of conscience.”
Grant Liberty has estimated the distance between the Dakar Rally route and high profile prisons in Saudi Arabia by overlaying the official published Dakar Rally course onto GoogleMaps. https://www.dakar.com/en/overall-route
The route passes:
- Within 1km of al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh on 6 January
- Within 20km of Dhabhan Prison in Jeddah
12 women are taking part in 2021 Dakar Rally which begin January 3 https://www.mxlink.co.nz/women-competing-in-dakar-rally-2021-preview/