Loujain al-Hathloul was one of 10 activists arrested and imprioned in May 2018. The 2013 University of British Columbia graduate has not been in contact with her family since early June--her longest period of silence since her arrest. (Facebook)

Jailed Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul’s family has lost contact with her

Loujain al-Hathloul, a woman with close ties to Canada and a deep commitment to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, has not been heard from in over six weeks, according to her brother.

It’s her longest period of silence since she was one of 10 women activists arrested and jailed in a government crackdown in May 2018.

“We don’t know anything about her well-being and we don’t know anything about where she is exactly,” her brother Walid al-Hathloul told the CBC’s Michelle Ghoussoub by phone from Toronto on the weekend.

Walid al-Hathloul told Ghoussoub his sister, who graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2014, has long been detained in Ha’er Prison, but the family now isn’t sure whether she’s been moved to a different location.

Loujain al-Hathloul has been described as one of the most outspoken women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia. (Loujain al-Hathloul/Facebook)

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walid al-Hathloul told Ghoussoub, the family was able to visit Loujain weekly. 

However, those visits ended when Saudi Arabia tightened restrictions on prison visits to prevent the spread of the virus.

Walid al-Hathloul says the family hasn’t heard from her since June 9.

“I would say it’s a way to torture us, the family. Loujain knows that we are doing fine, but we don’t know if she’s doing fine,” he told Ghoussoub. 

“We’re safe — she’s not safe. It’s psychological torture.”

Early in her detention Loujain al-Hathloul told her family she’d been held in solitary confinement and suffered electrocution, flogging, and sexual assault. The family says her treatment has since improved.

She turned 31 last Friday.

With files from CBC News (Michelle Ghoussou), RCI

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