Meghan Markle's Friend Is Facing 20 Years In Prison In Saudi Arabia, Here's Why
The activist has posed with Meghan in Vanity Fair before but is now charged with treason.
Loujain Al-Hathloul went from posing with Meghan Markle in Vanity Fair here in Canada and attending world summits with the now Duchess, Emma Watson, Justin Trudeau, and others, to now facing 20 years or even the death penalty in a Saudia Arabia prison.
She was arrested for treason earlier this year after allegedly conspiring with enemies of the Saudi Arabia government.
Ahead of lifting of driving ban on women, 7 female activists have been arrested, inc #OYW Ambassador @LoujainHathloul (👇 w/ @fbhutto, Mary Robinson & @KensingtonRoyal's Meghan Markle) .— One Young World (@OneYoungWorld) May 21, 2018
🗣 We call for her immediate release. RT #FreeLoujain @amnesty 👉https://t.co/QGBG9DgBUb pic.twitter.com/pUEDxK3arP
Al-Hathloul was one of five women and two men arrested in a crackdown on people who spoke out against the government. The arrests occurred in May, right around the time when Women were finally getting the right to drive in Saudi Arabia.
The activists arrested were campaigning to use the lifting of the driving ban to lead to more rights for women in the country such as ending the male guardianship system which forces women to have a male guardian (usually a father, husband, or brother) and they are not allowed to make decisions, travel, or conduct business without their guardian's permission.
But now the seven activists are being detained by the Saudia government, who claims that all of them including Al-Hathloul, confessed to communicating with and supporting hostile enemies of Saudi Arabi.
Human rights group Amnesty International has said that they don't know the condition of the detainees or where exactly they are being kept right now, but that they expect the activists will be brought to Saudi's criminal courts on charges of treason.
In Saudia Arabia, treason is one of the most serious offences and the sentence is up to 20 years in prison or even the death penalty.
Al-Hathloul was confronted by police in March of this year as well for being very vocal for women's rights on her Twitter. She was attending university in Abu Dhabi at the time but was flown back to Saudi Arabia and banned from leaving the country or using social media.