Loujain al-Hathloul is a Saudi women’s rights activist, a social media figure, and a political prisoner. She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia. Al-Hathloul has been arrested and released on several occasions for defying the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and was arrested in May 2018, with several prominent women’s rights activists, on the charge of “attempting to destabilise the kingdom” after being effectively kidnapped in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As of October 2018, her husband, Saudi stand-up comedian Fahad al-Butairi, had also been forcefully returned from Jordan to the Kingdom and was under arrest.
Al-Hathloul was ranked third in the list of “Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2015”. In March 2019, PEN America announced that Nouf Abdulaziz, al-Hathloul, and Eman al-Nafjan would receive the 2019 PEN America/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.
Al-Hathloul was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2019”.