Saudi Arabia has upped the ante in their confrontation with Western countries over the fate of 10 women activists arrested last year.
Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a statement signed by three dozen countries, including Canada, condemning Saudi Arabia for arresting the activists last May.
However, it is unclear exactly which of the activists were in court since diplomats, journalists and human rights activists were barred.
That group included two activists with close connections to Canada.
Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, were extremely worried she would face terrorism charges and al-Hathloul’s brother Walid tweeted late Tuesday that the family had been informed her court appearance had been moved from the Specialized Criminal Court to the Criminal Court.
It remains unclear what charges she and the other women are facing, though the BBC reports the charges include supporting “hostile elements” and could carry long prison sentences.
The other activist with Canadian connections, is Samar Badawi, whose brother is currently in a Saudi prison,
Raif Badawi has been in a Saudi jail since 2012 for his criticism of the regime. He was lashed 50 times in 2015.
Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, and their three children became Canadian citizens last summer and currently live in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
Other detainees include Nouf Abdelaziz, Mayaa al-Zahrani, Nassima al-Saada, Shadan al-Onezi, Amal al-Harbi, Mohammed al-Rabia, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan and Hatoon Al-Fassi
Activists and human rights groups say some of the detainees, including al-Hathloul, were held in solitary confinement and subjected to mistreatment and torture.
At this point, human rights groups are working feverishly to find out exactly what happened in Riyadh today.
I spoke briefly about the hunt for facts with Jacqueline Hansen, Amnesty International Canada’s Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner, on Wednesday afternoon.Listen
With files from BBC, Reuters, Aljazeera, CBC, CP, AP