Many of those arrested last year campaigned for the right to drive [File: Hasan Jamali/AP]

Women activists detained by Saudi Arabia for almost a year face “bogus” charges, including contacting foreign media, human rights campaigners and international organisations, Amnesty International has said.

The trial of at least 10 women opened in Riyadh’s criminal court on Wednesday after they were held last year in a sweeping crackdown on activists, legal authorities said, without specifying the charges.

Amnesty put the number of women who appeared in court at 11, adding that they were charged with promoting women’s rights and calling for the end of the restrictive male guardianship system.

“The women were also charged with contacting international organisations, foreign media and other activists, including the Amnesty International,”

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