Loujain al-Hathloul

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Loujain al-Hathloul
لجين الهذلول
Loujain Alhathloul.jpg
Born (1989-07-31) 31 July 1989 (age 31)
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia[1]
Known forDefying female driving ban in Saudi Arabia
Spouse(s)married Fahad Albutairi (2014–2018) (husband was reportedly pressured into divorce by Saudi regime)[2]

Loujain al-Hathloul (Arabic: لجين الهذلولLujjayn al-Hadhlūl; born 31 July 1989) is a Saudi women's rights activist, a social media figure, and a political prisoner. She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia.[3] Al-Hathloul has been arrested and released on several occasions for defying the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and was arrested in May 2018, with several prominent women's rights activists, on the charge of "attempting to destabilise the kingdom" after being effectively kidnapped in the United Arab Emirates. As of October 2018, her husband, Saudi stand-up comedian Fahad Albutairi, had also been forcefully returned from Jordan to the Kingdom and was under arrest.[4][5]

Al-Hathloul was ranked third in the list of "Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2015".[6][7][8][9] On March 14, 2019, PEN America announced that Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan would receive the 2019 PEN America/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which was presented on May 21 at the 2019 PEN America Literary Gala.[10]

Women's rights activism (2014–2017)[edit]

Al-Hathloul is known both for her role in the women to drive movement and in opposing the Saudi male guardianship system.[11] On 1 December 2014, she was arrested and detained for 73 days after an attempt to cross the border in her car from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Saudi Arabia on charges related to defying the female driving ban in the kingdom.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] She has a UAE licence but the Saudi police still arrested her.[19] Al-Hathloul attempted to stand in Saudi local elections in December 2015, the first vote in Saudi Arabia to include women, but was barred.[20][21]

In September 2016, along with 14,000 others, al-Hathloul signed a petition to King Salman asking for the male guardianship system to be abolished.[11] On 4 June 2017, she was arrested and detained at King Fahad International Airport in Dammam. The reason for the arrest was not officially disclosed, although Amnesty International believed it was for her human rights activism, and al-Hathloul was not allowed access to a lawyer or any contact with her family.[22]

2018–2020 detention and torture[edit]

Loujain Al-Hathloul was kidnapped from UAE in March 2018 and deported to Saudi Arabia where she was arrested for a few days then put under a travel ban. [23] Al-Hathloul was detained again on the eve of 15 May 2018, along with Eman al-Nafjan, Aisha al-Mana, Aziza al-Yousef, Madeha al-Ajroush and some men[24][11][25] involved in campaigning for women's rights in Saudi Arabia.[26][27] Human Rights Watch interpreted the purpose of the arrests as frightening "anyone expressing skepticism about the crown prince's rights agenda".[11][28]

In June 2018, women were granted the right to drive in Saudi Arabia, while al-Hathloul remained under arrest. According to ALQST and Amnesty International, al-Hathloul and several of the other women detained for their women's rights activities were tortured. Torture techniques included being beaten on their feet, given electric shocks, whipped, in a torture location called "the hotel" or "the officer's guesthouse".[29][30] According to Loujain al-Hathloul's sister Alia, (who lives in Brussels, Belgium), torture techniques used specifically against Loujain also included beating, electric shocks and waterboarding, and the torture occurred between May and August 2018. Loujain al-Hathloul's parents stated that Loujain's "thighs were blackened by bruises" when they visited, and that Loujain "was shaking uncontrollably, unable to hold her grip, to walk or sit normally" during their visit.[31] According to Alia al-Hathloul, Saud al-Qahtani visited al-Hathloul during her torture, laughing at her, threatening to rape and kill her and to dispose of her body in the sewage system, and he tortured her "all night during Ramadan".[31] Alia al-Hathloul stated that she had expected that under Saudi norms in relation to women, her sister would not have been tortured.[31]

As of December 2018, al-Hathloul was in jail with her fellow activists at Dhahban Central Prison.[32][33][30] According to her brother Walid al-Hathloul (who lives in Ontario, Canada), al-Hathloul was by February 2019 held in al-Ha'ir Prison.[34]

On 1 March 2019, the office of Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor announced that the preliminary investigation had been completed and they would be preparing to try al-Hathloul and other activists in court for undermining state security.[35] On 13 March 2019, the trial began, although the charges were not specified and reporters and diplomats were barred from attending.[36][37] In April 2019, a hearing on her case was postponed without a reason being given.[38]

As of May 2020, her trial has been indefinitely postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has raised concerns over her health inside the Saudi prison.[39]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ghoussoub, Michelle (29 May 2018). "Incredibly fierce' UBC graduate among activists detained in Saudi Arabia". CBC News. Archived from the original on 30 May 2018. A graduate of the University of British Columbia is among 10 activists recently arrested in Saudi Arabia. Loujain Al-Hathloul attended UBC between 2009 and 2014, graduating with a degree in French.
  2. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (26 January 2019). "She Wanted to Drive, So Saudi Arabia's Ruler Imprisoned and Tortured Her". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  3. ^ Ghoussoub, Michelle (22 November 2018). "Concern grows for UBC grad after report Saudi Arabia tortured activists". CBC News. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  4. ^ Hubbard, Ben (8 October 2018). "'Our Hands Can Reach You': Khashoggi Case Shakes Saudi Dissidents Abroad". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Reveal Fate of Jamal Khashoggi". Human Rights Watch. 11 October 2018.
  6. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2015: 3. Loujain al-Hathloul". ArabianBusiness.com. 4 March 2015. Archived from the original on 10 February 2020.
  7. ^ Sheffield, Hazel (4 March 2015). "Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi and Amal Clooney named most powerful Arab women in the world". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Loujain Al Hathloul, at number three on the list, hit the headlines in December after she was arrested for driving across the border from the UAE to Saudi Arabia. She has now been freed from prison after reigniting the debate about women’s right to drive.
  8. ^ "21 Saudis among 100 most powerful Arab women". Arab News. 4 March 2015. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2015. Loujain Al-Hathloul from Saudi Arabia is in third place for her achievements on the cultural and social fronts, while Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan came in at fourth for her role in the banking and finance sector.
  9. ^ "From a retail tycoon to Amal Clooney: meet the Arab World's most powerful women". Al-Bawaba. 6 March 2015. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Loujain Al Hathloul, at number three on the list, hit the headlines in December after she was arrested for driving across the border from the UAE to Saudi Arabia. She has now been freed from prison after reigniting the debate about women’s right to drive.
  10. ^ "Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, Eman Al-Nafjan". PEN America. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights Advocates Arrested — Jumping Ahead of Crown Prince's Reforms Risks Jail Time". Human Rights Watch. 18 May 2018. Archived from the original on 19 May 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Two Saudi Women Who Were Detained for Defying a Driving Ban Have Been Freed". Time magazine. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2015. Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysaa al-Amoudi had been held since Dec. 1, after al-Hathloul, 25, attempted to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates, Agence France-Presse reports.
  13. ^ "Saudi Women Free After 73 Days in Jail for Driving". The New York Times. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 27 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Saudi women jailed for driving 'released from prison' after two months". The Independent. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Saudi Arabia Releases Two Women Drivers From Jail". The Wall Street Journal. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Saudi women drivers 'freed from jail'". BBC News. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Women who defied Saudi Arabia's driving ban freed after months in jail". Mashable. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Saudi women who defied driving ban 'freed from jail'". France 24. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 31 March 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  19. ^ Murphy, Brian (10 December 2015). "Once jailed for defying a driving ban, this Saudi woman is now standing for office". The Sydney Morning Herald. The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Two disqualified as first Saudi women begin campaign for election". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  21. ^ Spencer, Richard (14 December 2015). "Saudi Arabian women voted for the first time but still can't drive. Should we be celebrating?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  22. ^ Mortimer, Caroline (8 June 2017). "Saudi Arabia jails human rights activist who defied women's driving ban". The Independent. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Loujain al-Hathloul deserves her freedom. They all deserve freedom". رصيف 22. 2019-03-12. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  24. ^ "Female activists detained ahead of Saudi driving ban reversal". The National. 20 May 2018. Archived from the original on 5 June 2018. Some state-linked media outlets published the names of those detained, which include Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef and Eman al-Najfan.
  25. ^ Sarah El Sirgany, Hilary Clarke (21 May 2018). "Saudi Arabia arrests female activists weeks before lifting of driving ban". CNN. Archived from the original on 21 May 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018. Activists Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef and Aisha Almane were arrested last week, along with four male supporters, the government and Saudi media said Friday.
  26. ^ Batrawy, Aya. "Six women's driving advocates in Saudi Arabia arrested". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2018-06-05. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Chilling smear campaign against women's rights defenders". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 5 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Saudi Arabia 'arrests women's rights activists'". Al Jazeera English. 19 May 2018. Archived from the original on 19 May 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  29. ^ "ALQST Confirms New Details of Torture of Saudi Women Activists as British MPs Seek Access to Prisons to Investigate". ALQST. 3 January 2019. Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia: Reports of torture and sexual harassment of detained activists". Amnesty.org. Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  31. ^ a b c al-Hathloul, Alia (13 January 2019). "My Sister Is in a Saudi Prison. Will Mike Pompeo Stay Silent?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  32. ^ "Saudi women can now drive — but activists jailed". ABC News. 24 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Saudi driving ban ends as women's rights activists remain jailed". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Brother of Saudi woman 'being tortured in prison' fears her treatment is getting worse". The Independent. 22 February 2019.
  35. ^ Hubbard, Ben (2 March 2019). "Saudi Arabia Moves Toward Trials of Women's Rights Activists". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  36. ^ Oppenheim, Maya (13 March 2019). "Saudi women's rights campaigner who has been 'tortured and sexually harassed in prison' goes on trial". The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  37. ^ "Saudi women's rights activists go on trial in Riyadh". The Guardian. Reuters. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  38. ^ "Trial for Saudi activists who've served a year in prison has been delayed". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  39. ^ Da Silva, Chantal (15 May 2020). "Saudi Women's Rights Activist Detained for Two Years While Awaiting Trial Must Be Released During Pandemic, Sister Says". Newsweek. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Alqst and Over 160 groups call for accountability following murder of journalist and widespread arrest of women's rights defenders". ALQST. 26 October 2018. Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  41. ^ von Hein, Matthias (10 August 2017). "Is Saudi Arabia waging war on its Shiite minority?". Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  42. ^ Brennan, David (21 August 2018). "Who Is Israa al-Ghomgham? Female Saudi Activist May Be Beheaded After Death Sentence". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.

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