Saudi Arabia has silenced the voice of a women's rights activist by jailing her and then torturing her in prison. Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested in May 2018 along with other activists, campaigned for the rights of Saudi women to drive. Her arrest has drawn global criticism and her sister has now raised concern over the safety of al-Hathloul.
Lina al-Hathloul, a 31-year-old activist's sister who lives in Brussels, told the Independent that the family hasn't heard from Loujain in over two months. Lina, 25, has expressed concerns for the well-being, recalling the time in 2018 when she was being tortured.
"We are very worried because no calls or visits for two months is very suspicious. The only thing that makes them want to hide her now is the fact she is potentially being tortured. When she was being tortured before, she wasn't allowed any visits and that is why we have the legitimate right to think she might be being tortured now," Lina was quoted as saying by the publication.
Lina recalls the time when she was arrested and put in an unofficial prison and was tortured by Saud al-Qahtani, a former top adviser of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
"She was sexually harassed, he threatened her with raping her and then murdering her afterwards. During her time in prison, she was also waterboarded, electrocuted, whipped, flogged, and force-fed during the month of Ramadan when she was supposed to be fasting," she recalled.
'I have nightmares'
Lina is affected by all this as she's having nightmares. All the news about prisoners being released and then dying later is her worried. Lina described Loujain's personality as being well-liked by everyone.
"Everyone who meets Loujain likes her. She is very spontaneous and funny. She never judges anyone. She is a very honest and real person. She sacrifices herself for the people around her. Everything makes me think of Loujain. It is killing me every day. I always tell myself Loujain would have done everything I do and much more to save me. I have to keep on going until she is free," Line told the paper.
Loujain has been blocked from calling her siblings and there has been no response from the Al-Ha'ir prison about letting her parents meet or ring her. Lina has urged the British government to intervene and help either getting her sister released or at least provide update on the mental and physical health of the activist.