Save Dina Ali

Social media rumors hold that Saudi woman Dina Ali Lasloom was intercepted in an attempt to seek asylum in Australia and faces dangerous repercussions.

Published Apr 12, 2017

On 11 April 2017 ,the hashtag #SaveDinaAli spread on Twitter to publicize the plight of a Saudi Arabian woman named Dina Ali, purportedly in grave danger following a failed attempt to seek asylum in Australia:

One of the most widespread versions of the story was a Twitter thread containing multiple tweets about a series of events involving Ali, with claims largely stemming from a viral video:

Some additional information came from Bloomberg reporter Vivian Nereim, who was in Saudi Arabia and who went to the airport along with other members of the press:

On 12 April 2017, Reuters reported on social media rumors about Ali, but noted that the claims remained unverified:

A Saudi woman claiming she sought asylum in Australia was stopped on a layover in the Philippines and returned to Riyadh on Wednesday.

Dina Ali Lasloom said in self-recorded videos the Philippine authorities had held her at the Manila airport and confiscated her passport. The videos circulated widely on social media over the last two days.

"My name is Dina Ali and I'm a Saudi woman who fled Saudi Arabia to Australia to seek asylum," she said in one video, adding she feared violence from any relatives who came to bring her back home.

"Please help me. I'm recording this video to help me and know that I'm real and I'm here."

The woman did not say why she sought refuge abroad and the authenticity of the videos could not immediately be verified.

Both Nereim and Reuters shared statements from the Saudi embassy in Manila, which claimed that Ali had been returned to her relatives in what was described as a "family matter". The outlet added that a second woman present at the airport in response to rumors about Ali had been detained:

A rare gathering of about 10 Saudi activists appeared in the arrivals area of the Riyadh airport around midnight on Wednesday, after a hashtag began circulating on Twitter urging people to "receive Dina at the airport."

One of them, a 23-year-old medical student named Alaa Alanazi, appeared to have been detained after approaching airport security about the case.

Nereim published several tweets about the second woman (whose name was spelled variously as Alaa Alanazi or Alaa Anazi):

Anazi's rumored detention prompted a related hashtag, #WhereIsAlaaAnazi. Nereim reported on 12 April 2017 that the young woman's sister believed she had been taken to a detention center, although the reasons behind that were not immediately clear.

News reports in Australia also largely cited social media information and Dina Ali's circulated statements, but included no additional information about the situation. The Saudi embassy in Manila confirmed that a female traveler was "returned with her relatives to the homeland," but provided no further information.

Although witnesses independently confirmed the presence of a visibly distressed woman on a flight to Riyadh on 11 April 2017, and the Saudi embassy stated a woman was returned to her relatives, we were unable to find any firm official or anecdotal updates about Dina Ali beyond the information she shared to social media. Ali ostensibly arrived in Riyadh after she was intercepted in Manila, but details about what happened next remain unavailable.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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