Hathloul has been held since 2018 when she was arrested with at least a dozen other activists, all campaigning for women’s rights, including the freedom to drive.

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al Hathloul is seen in this undated handout picture.
Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al Hathloul is seen in this undated handout picture. (Reuters)

A Saudi terrorism court has sentenced prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison, despite international criticism of her detention and pressure to release her.

The court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence, local media reported on Monday.

Hathloul, 31, has been held since 2018 after being arrested along with at least a dozen other women's rights activists.

Saudi officials had earlier said the arrests were made on suspicion of harming Saudi interests and offering support to hostile elements abroad.

UN human rights experts had called the charges brought against the activist "spurious" and called for her immediate release earlier this month.

Rights groups have also said that some of the women, including Hathloul, were held in solitary confinement for months and subjected to abuse including electric shocks, flogging and sexual assault.

Saudi officials have denied torture allegations.

READ MORE: Jailed Saudi activist's health deteriorates due to torture and hunger strike

Source: Reuters