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Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul. (Marieke Wijntjes/REUTERS)
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul. (Marieke Wijntjes/REUTERS)


Jailed Saudi feminist Loujain al-Hathloul is deeply traumatized in prison, her brother says

By WITW Staff on May 28, 2019

More than a year after Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul was imprisoned for campaigning to give women the right to drive in her country, her brother Walid al-Hathloul says she is deeply traumatized by her experience, according to The Guardian. She and other activists have been subjected to physical and psychological torture in jail, including electric shocks.

Loujain, now 29, was arrested last spring in a Saudi government sweep targeting women who had pushed for driving rights in the conservative country. Eleven activists were put on trial for “coordinated activity to undermine the security, stability, and social peace of the kingdom,” according to The Guardian. This, despite the fact that Saudi women did indeed gain the right to drive.

Seven of the activists were released earlier this year, but Walid told The Guardian that the family does not expect the same fate for Loujain. Experts say she has received particularly brutal treatment due her role as a leading feminist.

Despite her experience behind bars, Walid said, Loujain remains more concerned about women outside the prison than herself. “Although she didn’t witness women being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, she kept asking me how women there were feeling, whether they were enjoying their right to drive,” he said. “She was thinking about them, even though she was in jail.”

He added, “She never gives up. She believes in fundamental rights. She’s there to think about other people. That’s who she is as a person. She cares about others more than she cares about herself.”

Nonetheless, the effects of her pain and isolation are clearly taking a toll, her brother said, noting that she is “traumatized and isn’t thinking properly.”

This spring, Loujain was named one of TIME’s most influential people in the world for her activism on behalf of women. In April, her sister Lina al-Hathloul spoke at the 10th Annual Women in the World Summit New York. Watch video of her appearance below.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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