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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Loujain al-Hathloul

Detained: May 15, 2018

Charges: Promoting women’s rights; calling for the end of the male guardianship system; contacting international organizations, foreign media, and other activists.

Sentence: five years and eight months in prison. 

Biography: Loujain al-Hathloul is one of the most prominent and outspoken women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. She is well-known for her campaigning against the driving ban and the campaign to end the male guardianship system. In 2014, she was detained for 73 days after she attempted to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. Loujain al-Hathloul also went on to stand for election in Saudi Arabia in November 2015 – the first time women were allowed to both vote and stand in elections in the state. However, despite finally being recognized as a candidate, her name was never added to the ballot.

Saudi officials detained Loujain al-Hathloul on March 15, 2018. For the first 10 months of her detention she was held without charges or trial. Loujain was detained along with 11 other women rights activists since May 2018. She was held incommunicado with no access to her family or lawyer during the first three months of her detention. During that time, Loujain was beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks, sexually harassed, and threatened with rape and murder. On her first trial session on March 13, 2019, she was charged with promoting women’s rights; calling for the end of the male guardianship system; contacting international organizations, foreign media, and other activists, including contact with Amnesty International. Her case was transferred to Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison, and with the Court suspending 2 years and 10 months of her term and backdated its start to May 2018, Loujain al-Hathloul will serve three months in prison.

She is one of many formerly Detained Women's Rights Activists in Saudi Arabia.

Loujain al-Hathloul has been granted CONDITIONAL RELEASE.

Advocate: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

Advocacy Partner: Amnesty International