Saudi Arabian women's right activist arrested
June 10, Riyadh: A women's rights activist who was detained for 73 days for openly defying Saudi Arabia’s female driving ban has been arrested again.
Loujain al-Hathloul, 27, was arrested on June 4 at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, though authorities have not revealed why she was taken into custody.Hathloul has been denied access to a lawyer or her family, human rights group Amnesty International said.
The exact reason for her arrest has not been made public but Amnesty said they believe it is due to her human rights activism in the country. The 27-year-old is most famous for defying the kingdom’s ban on female drivers after attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates.
Hathloul, who studied at the University of British Columbia, was arrested in 2014 after she tried to drive into Saudi Arabia from neighboring United Arab Emirates (UAE), flouting the ban on women motorists.Saudi Arabia is the only country that forbids women from driving. It is not illegal to drive in the country, but only men are given driving licences and women risk fines and arrests if they get behind the wheel.
There have been some marginal improvements in women's rights in the kingdom in recent years. In a rare step to partially rein in guardianship, King Salman last month ordered government agencies to stop demanding guardians' permission beyond the areas where the law actually requires it.
Under Saudi law, the guardian's permission is required for a woman to get a passport, to travel abroad or to marry.
It is also often demanded whenever a woman tries to do any number of things, including rent an apartment, buy a car, undergo a medical procedure or take a job. As a result, women are consigned to the legal status of minors.
The Oslo Times International News Network