Oh, about those Saudi reforms…
Saudi Arabia Said To Detain Women’s Rights Advocates Who Challenged Driving Ban
Those arrested over the last few days were said to include Loujain al-Hathloul and Eman Al Nafjan, both of whom defied the driving ban on women.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have detained at least five prominent human-rights activists, including women who for years campaigned to win Saudi women the right to drive, according to people with knowledge of the arrests.
The detentions appeared to be part of a broader crackdown by the Saudi leadership, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aimed at silencing any political activism, even as the crown prince carries out some social changes. A spokesman for the government did not immediately comment on the detentions, which were first publicized by Saudi opposition social media accounts.
The detentions came five weeks before women in Saudi Arabia will officially be permitted to drive – the fulfillment of a decades-long campaign by Saudi women’s rights activists, some of whom served jail time for protesting the ban.
Those arrested over the last few days were said to include Loujain al-Hathloul, who was detained several years ago for trying to drive to Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates, and Eman Al Nafjan, a university professor and blogger who had also been arrested for defying the driving ban, according to the people briefed on the detentions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the arrests have not been made public.
Others detained in recent days had been involved in seminal protests against the ban in 1990, the people said.