Abdulla also claimed that Hathloul was the head of the cell, calling her one of “Qatar’s evil arms", and said that she had recruited people working in sensitive government positions, as well as giving financial aid to figures threatening Saudi Arabia's security.
Since the arrests, human rights campaigners have highlighted the disparity between the kingdom's newly announced set of modernising reforms, including allowing women to drive, and the arrest and mistreatment of the activists.
Samah Hadid, Amnesty's Middle East director of campaigns, said on Monday: "It is clear that underneath all the PR hype and spin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reforms exclude human rights activism... We continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all activists still being detained solely for their human rights work."
Hathloul was previously detained at least twice for her activism. Before her first arrest in 2014, Hathloul had attempted to drive into Saudi Arabia from the UAE in defiance of Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers.
Hathloul and the others have been branded as "traitors" by government-aligned media outlets over the past week and reportedly could face the death penalty.
A Saudi activist, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, told Middle East Eye: "The kind of reporting we see in the national media inside Saudi Arabia is aimed to quiet dissent inside, and to incite terror inside anyone who was inspired by these women.
“It is meant to send a clear message to the people that no one is supposed to speak on public affairs, nobody is supposed to be part of any engagement in society other than the state.”
The activist mentioned that even participating in other events, such as UN-supported reviews, can get people into trouble with the Saudi government.