After 1001 days in a Saudi jail, Saudi human rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul has finally been released last night, according to her family members.
Posting photos of their sister after almost three years in Saudi jails, siblings of 31-year-old Loujain Al-Hathloul have celebrated the long-called for release last night. News of Loujain's release sparked thousands of celebratory tweets across social media, including statements by American and European officials, including the US president Joe Biden.
Lojain had been accused of cooperation with international NGOs and foreign journalists and diplomats. Al-Hathloul, who had been living in the UAE at the time she was kidnapped and jailed, had been known for her activism for women's rights in the conservative kingdom.
In 2014, Lojain was briefly in prison over her decision to challenge the government imposed driving-ban on women, which ended in June 2019, nearly a year after her last arrest.
In our first call with Loujain, we couldn’t trust her smile. We told her « u were telling us u were ok when you were in the secret prison » and she replied« what did u want me to say instead, the electric stun was on my ear and ready to be activated if I complained abt anything » https://t.co/fIUQ8dTajA— Lina Alhathloul لينا الهذلول (@LinaAlhathloul) February 11, 2021
Over the last three years, the international community has repeatedly expressed concerns over reports by Al-Hathloul's familiy over being tortured while in prison, ones that were first revealed by her Europe-based sister during an interview with France24 in May 2019.
We welcome the news that Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been released from prison and has reunited with her family. We encourage Saudi Arabia to continue legal and policy reforms that respect the rights of women, girls, and all people.— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) February 11, 2021
Sitting in plenary and happy like crazy. @LoujainHathloul has been released, I just spoke to her sister @LinaAlhathloul this morning.— Dr. Hannah Neumann (@HNeumannMEP) February 10, 2021
We still need to get rid of the ridiculous sentence and the travel ban, but she is home ❤️ pic.twitter.com/DeIhRE2GLg
However, Loujain's siblings living abroad have called on people concerned with her case; including journalists and officials to not refer to her release as "freeing" her, saying that continues to be under a strict travel ban along with her parents, who have been banned from travel ever since she was arrested.
Nassima al-Sadah, Nouf Abdelaziz and Maya al-Zahrani were apparently released.https://t.co/nrT3z2r4yJ— Kamil (@schertendorfer) February 10, 2021
Meanwhile, Saudi has reportedly released three other women activists; Nassima Al-Sadah, Nouf Abdelaziz, and Maya Al-Zahrani. Yet, LojainAl-Hathloul has dominated the news over the last several years as a result of her family's continuous calls on international organizations to pressure the Saudi government into releasing her.
بخروج لجين الهذلول، يكون كل من اعتقل في مايو ٢٠١٨ قد خرج إلا محمد الربيعة. الله يكتب له الافراج العاجل وتقر عين والدته به. pic.twitter.com/AP7e15vPUf— سلطان العامر (@sultaan_1) February 10, 2021
Translation: "By Lojain Al-Hathloul's release, everyone who was arrested in May 2018 has been released except Mohammed Al-Rabiah, who I hope gets freed as soon as possible."
While celebrating the news, many social media users highlighted names of other prominent Saudi human rights activists, who continue to be in jail, calling on the world to not forget them and to exert similar pressure on the Saudi government until they are released.
© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)