Advocates wish imprisoned Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul a 'happy' 30th birthday

Advocates wish imprisoned Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul a 'happy' 30th birthday
Hathloul was arrested and imprisoned last year on charges Amnesty has slammed as 'bogus'.
4 min read
31 July, 2019
The day marked Hathloul's second birthday in prison [Twitter]
Human rights defenders on Wednesday wished imprisoned Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul a "happy" 30th birthday - the second Hathloul has spent behind bars since being jailed last year.

The Saudi women's rights activist is one of 11 women detained in May last year amid a wide sweeping crackdown on dissent.

Hathloul had long campaigned for women's right to drive in the ultraconservative kingdom.

While women were finally granted the right to drive in June last year, Hathloul and other activists including blogger Eman al-Nafjan, retired university lecturer Aziza al-Youssef and preacher Rokaya al-Mohareb were detained and are now part of an ongoing trial.

According to human rights organisations and members of Hathloul's family, the jailed activist has been subjected to torture and sexual harassment while in prison.

But Hathloul's family, friends and fellow human rights advocates hold-out hope that she will be released.

Read more: Kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured: How the Saudi regime wanted to silence women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul


Human rights organisations including Amnesty International, ALQST, MENA Rights, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) all wished Hathloul a happy 30th birthday on Twitter.

Many social media users repeated Amnesty's call for Hathloul to have a "happy and resilient" birthday, her second behind bars on charges the human rights organisation has called "bogus".

Human Rights Watch's Executive Director Kenneth Roth was joined by the organisation's Middle East research Adam Coogle and others in wishing the activist a happy birthday and protesting her continued imprisonment.

US Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici also noted Hathloul's birthday, calling the activist's treatment in prison a "clear sign of the human rights violations occurring in Saudi Arabia". 

DW Freedom, PEN America and English PEN also noted the day and protested against the activist's continued imprisonment.

Advocates from across the globe came together on Wednesday to wish Hathloul - and her fellow detainees - freedom for the milestone birthday.