Saudi court upholds rights activist's sentence

A Saudi court has upheld the original sentence of women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who had championed women's rights in the country.

She was detained in May 2018 and sentenced in December to nearly six years in prison under broad cybercrime and counter-terrorism laws.

Hathloul was released last month having served half of her custodial sentence.

She was hopeful when she walked into the courthouse Wednesday morning only to see the court upholding her sentence.

"Let's hope that the sentence has been changed or modified a little bit. We'll see how it goes, thank you so much for your support."

The human rights activist rose to prominence in 2013 when she began publicly campaigning for women's right to drive in Saudi Arabia.

The ban on female drivers came to an end in 2018 after the law was changed.

She also campaigns against the conservative kingdom's male guardianship system, which assigned each woman with a male relative to approve big decisions throughout a woman's life.

Her sentencing drew widespread international condemnation.

United Nations rights experts have called it spurious.