Dragged Back to Saudi Arabia Kicking and Screaming

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Illustrative picture. (Photo: Clarion Project)

Dina Ali Lasloom, 24, dreamed of a life away from the stifling oppression of a woman’s existence in Saudi Arabia. So she saved up money, booked a flight and ran away from her abusive family to start a new life in Australia.

But when she got to the Philippines, a place she was only meant to be in for a few hours to change flights, her passport was confiscated by authorities. They had received a call from the Saudi Embassy rescinding the passport and requesting Philippines authorities to detain Ms. Ali until her family arrived to take her back to Saudi Arabia.

According to witness accounts they beat her and dragged her kicking and screaming back on plane back to Saudi Arabia.

She recorded a heartfelt video plea for help in Manila airport, stating she would be killed by her family if she was returned to Saudi Arabia.

Activists confirmed she touched down in Riyadh but her whereabouts are now unknown. Activists around the world have taken up her cause #SaveDinaAli has been trending on Twitter.

Another woman, Alaa Anazi, was reportedly detained by Saudi authorities while protesting for the release of Dina Ali.

We still don’t know the fate of either woman.

Anti-extremist champion Maajid Nawaz said of the case:

“Shame on the Saudis and shame on the Philippines. Enough. Enough with using religion to silence, deprive, beat, and kill. Enough with the backwardness. Enough with the darkness. All we can do is continue to speak in the hope that a butterfly’s wings that flap in one corner of the world will eventually build a storm that sweeps clean the disease that is known as Saudi fundamentalist patriarchy. To remind us, we have Dina’s last desperate words, made in her online video, as she pleaded helplessly to the ether, begging for anybody, everybody—and thus nobody—to help her.”


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Elliot Friedland

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.