Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul has started a hunger strike to protest her conditions in detention, her sisters have announced.
“Today, Monday, 26 October 2020 at 7pm Riyadh time, my sister Loujain announced a hunger strike due to the administration of Al-Ha’ir prison depriving her of the right to contact [her] family,” tweeted Loujain’s sister Alia
My parents had a visit with Loujain today – it was not a good meeting. Loujain needs our support as she is going on a hunger strike. We will be releasing an action to support Loujain ASAP. Please watch this space https://t.co/NKORhzVG0m #FreeLoujain https://t.co/P8HiLahlwE
— Lina Alhathloul لينا الهذلول (@LinaAlhathloul) October 26, 2020
Saudi authorities did not comment, but the kingdom usually denies any failure to care for detainees in its prisons.
On May 15, 2018, Riyadh arrested a number of human rights activists, most notably Loujain Al-Hadhloul, Samar Badawi, Naseema al-Sada, Noof Abdul Aziz and Maya al-Zahrani.
Human rights reports at the time attributed the reasons for the arrest to their defence of women’s rights, in exchange for official accusations of undermining the country’s security.
Saudi Arabia faces international criticism over the conditions of freedom of expression and human rights, to which Riyadh says it is committed to “implementing the law transparently.”