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First lady Michelle Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pose with Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia as she receives the 2012 International Women of Courage Award in 2012. Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Two women's rights activists are free, nearly three years after Saudi Arabia arrested them during a government crackdown on dissent, the London-based Saudi rights group ALQST announced on Sunday.

Why it matters: The international community condemned the detention of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah back in summer 2018.

  • Badawi and Sadah had campaigned for women to have the right to drive and to end the country's male guardianship system. They were among at least a dozen other women’s rights activists to face prosecution during that time.
  • In 2012, Badawi received the International Women of Courage Award, which was presented to her by then-first lady Michelle Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • Badawi's sister is the writer Raif Badawi, who was publicly lashed and arrested in 2012 for critical blog posts about Saudi clerics.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Sep 11, 2021 - World

U.S. removes missile defenses from Saudi Arabia

A sign at the entrance of Abha airport in the southwest of Saudi Arabia damaged from a drone attack that wounded eight people. Photo: Fayez Nureldine / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has withdrawn its most advanced missile defense system from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, while the country faces persistent air attacks from Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Associated Press reports.

The big picture: Tens of thousands of American forces remain in the Arabian Peninsula, but Gulf Arab nations are increasingly worried about the U.S.'s plans "as its military perceives a growing threat in Asia that requires those missile defenses," the AP writes.

Sep 13, 2021 - World

Pelosi "deeply concerned" about Saudi aid worker torture allegations

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she's "deeply concerned" over allegations that an aid worker in Saudi Arabia has been tortured while in detention.

Driving the news: Pelosi's call comes ahead of an appeal hearing in Red Crescent Society worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan's criminal case, due to be held Monday.

Sep 13, 2021 - World

Taliban says female students can study in gender-segregated universities

Students hold Taliban flags as they listen to women speakers before a pro-Taliban rally at the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Female students in Afghanistan can continue with their university studies, but classes must now be segregated and head coverings are mandatory, the Taliban announced Sunday.

Why it matters: Afghan women and girls have expressed fears they could lose hard-won rights to education, employment and other freedoms, and see a return to the oppressive rule they experienced from 1996-2001, when the Taliban last ruled.