A Saudi Arabian power couple has disappeared. Comic Fahad al-Butairi and activist Loujain al-Hathloul were last seen early in 2018.
Fahad was known as the “Jerry Seinfeld” of Saudi Arabia, and his wife, Loujain, was a groundbreaking activist who fought for—and was arrested for—women's right to drive and a close friend of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.
Now, no one has any idea where they are. They were arrested by their government and then disappeared without a trace.
In January, Fahad was arrested in Jordan. According to reports, he was “handcuffed, blindfolded and put onto a plane for Saudi Arabia.”
Two months later, Loujain was among the 11 women arrested by the Saudi government after a crackdown in March after. She allegedly confessed "to conspiring with enemies of the nation.”
Months later, their famous friends have begun to ask where they are. American writer and television producer Kirk Rudell, who produced "Will & Grace," wrote their story in a viral Twitter thread.
According to the thread, Rudell met the pair the couple years ago when Rudell needed an Arabic speaker for a part in “American Dad!” He clicked with the couple, who he called “young, cool, cosmopolitan, and incredibly nice. I liked them right away.”
He also learned that they'd moved to the United Arab Emirates because it was safer for them. This was especially important since Loujain is an activist.
“‘Huh. At least you’re safe’ I said. With millions of fans, he was too high profile to mess with.”
However, their fame, high profile friends and power did nothing to save them from the Saudi government which was determined to lock them away.
"A flyer from around the time they were arrested — which is now circulating on social media — shows activists, including al-Hathloul, with a “traitor” stamp over each of their faces," reports the New York Post.
Loujain is understood to still be in prison. Fahad was reportedly released only days after his arrest, but it's unclear where he is.
“Nine months later, Loujain is still in jail,” wrote Rudell. “I don’t know where Fahad is. He deactivated his Twitter.”
The crackdown which led to arrests came as a shock to the outside world. Just months after al-Hathloul’s arrest, the nation’s ban on women driving was finally lifted.
Rudell’s Twitter thread has now been shared more than 56,000 times and US politicians are beginning to ask questions about the power couple’s whereabouts. He says he just wants to be able to find his friends.
“They were just young, creative people, trying to make stuff,” he wrote. “I’d like to see what they could do in this world, if they were given the chance. I’d like to have that dinner with them someday.”
Please pray that this couple is found safe. It's a very scary story, and they need God's help.