Loujan al Hathloul

What the Criminal Conviction of Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Loujan al-Hathloul Says About the Future of Saudi Arabia

Loujan al-Hathloul is a 31 year old Saudi women’s rights activist currently in jail. She was first arrested in a protest advocating for right of women to drive and has been imprisoned by Saudi authorities since she attended a meeting at the United Nations focused on women’s rights and equality in 2018.

In early January 2021, she was handed down a nearly six year prison sentence.  Much of the sentence was suspended and she may be released as early as February or March. Her potential early release is likely due to international diplomatic pressure, including from the incoming Biden administration.

On the line to discuss her case and what the persecution of Loujan al-Hathloul can tell us about the future of Saudi Arabia, is Sari Bashi, consultant with the advocacy group DAWN — Democracy for the Arab World Now. We discuss the history of Loujan al-Hathloul’s activism and the circumstances around her arrest, detention and conviction.

We also discuss what her story and experience says about the Saudi kingdom under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and how international pressure on human rights.

If you have 20 minutes and want to better understand what the plight of one Saudi human rights activist can teach us about the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have a listen.


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