The Solidarity & Social Justice Committee (SSJC) of the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) expresses our firm solidarity with the incarcerated human rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. Loujain was imprisoned by the Saudi Arabian government on May 15, 2018 as part of a sweep of arrests of feminist activists, including Aziza al-Yousef and Eman al-Nafjan. Loujain was especially outspoken in her resistance to the Saudi kingdom’s discriminatory ban on women drivers, and was a prominent campaigner for women’s right to drive. Shortly after her capture the driving ban was lifted, however, she is yet to be freed. It is now over a year since she has been held under brutal conditions.

We want to affirm that Loujain is a peaceful human rights advocate. Her bold actions helped push the Kingdom to remove the driving ban and Saudi women are now free to drive in their country. Her influence at home and abroad has been notable, as she was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and was named to Time Magazine’s list of top 100 most influential people of 2019.

This call is urgent, as there have been increasingly troubling reports about Loujain’s treatment in prison and she has not been allowed to communicate with her family, friends, or allies. She has faced disproportionately severe punishment for her actions, for which there should never have been any retribution. We stand with Loujain al-Hathloul, strongly condemn her treatment, and call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to release her immediately.

In solidarity,

Solidarity & Social Justice Committee

Teaching Support Staff Union

ssjc@tssu.ca

For updates on Loujain and the campaign to free her, follow @FreeLoujain on Twitter.