Saudi sentences women's rights activist

A Saudi court has sentenced a prominent women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison.

That's according to local media that said Hathloul was charged with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security.

The trial has drawn international condemnation and poses an early challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's relationship with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

Biden has criticized Riyadh's human rights record.

Hathloul has been held since 2018 following her arrest along with at least a dozen other women's rights activists.

The court reportedly suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence which means she could be released around the end of February 2021.

UN rights experts have called the charges "spurious".

Along with leading rights groups and lawmakers in the US and Europe that have been calling for her release.

Hathloul had championed women's right to drive and called for an ending the kingdom's male guardian system.

Rights groups and her family say she's been tortured in prison - a charge denied by the Saudi authorities.