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Saudi woman driver activist released after second arrest

Lojain al-Hathloul was first arrested in 2014 for attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the UAE, and attempted to stand for election
Lojain al-Hathloul has been subjected to 'absurd and unjustified harassment' according to Amnesty International (Facebook)

A Saudi Arabian human rights campaigner who was famously detained for 73 days in 2014 for defying the kingdom's ban on female drivers, has been released after being held in Dammam on Sunday.

Lojain al-Hathoul's husband tweeted on Wednesday that she had been released after being detained at King Fahad International Airport, thanking all those who'd supported them.

The reason for her arrest this time was unclear, however Hathoul had not been allowed access to a lawyer, nor her family, according to Amnesty, which believes the arrest was made in relation to her human rights activism.

Before her first arrest in 2014, Hathloul had attempted to drive into Saudi Arabia from the UAE in defiance of Saudi’s ban on female drivers.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world in which it is illegal for women to drive. 

“Loujain al-Hathloul is a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights defender who was detained for 73 days after she defied the kingdom’s de facto driving ban for women by attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates on 30 November 2014,” Amnesty International said this week.

“The Saudi Arabian authorities’ continuous harassment of Loujain al-Hathloul is absurd and unjustifiable," added Samah Hadid, director of campaigns at Amnesty International in the Middle East.

"It appears she is being targeted once again because of her peaceful work as a human rights defender speaking out for women's rights, which are consistently trammeled in the kingdom."

Twitter users shared their joy at her release, and their support for what the couple is doing.