Weeks before her arrest, the well-known activist had decided to move to Riyadh, hoping to find work and lead a more independent life away from her abusive family.
According to the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), her father then filed a complaint against her for being absent from home, something that is considered an offense for women under the country's male guardianship system.
She was arrested on the 19th of April and transferred to the women's section of Al-Malaz detention center in Riyadh.
The activist had tried to escape abuse several times before but was returned to her family home, time and again.
Months before her long detention began, al-Otaibi reported her abusive brother to police, but after her family countered with a complaint of disobedience (also an offense for women under Saudi law,) she was briefly jailed and then returned to her family home.
"I will not go back to hell even if I lose my life"
In a tweet posted to her Twitter account days before she was arrested for fleeing her family home, al-Otaibi wrote:
“I will not go back to hell again even if it means losing my life. In addition, Al-Ras police must be held accountable for plotting and conspiring against me with my brother and father.”
Thousands hail al-Otaibi's release
As soon as news of the activist's release began making the rounds online, thousands took to the hashtag 'Maryam is free without a guardian,' to express their relief and hail al-Otaibi for her courage.
"Maryam, your dream has come true, you're now safe in your own country"
A major milestone for Saudi women
"A great day for women in my country"
Many hailed al-Otaibi's courage
Heavily involved in the fight to end the country's male guardianship system
Before her arrest, al-Otaibi had been heavily involved in the "I Am My Own Guardian" campaign.
Women like her have been fighting against Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system for years and even though they've made significant strides in recent months, they remain subject to its rules.
Under the current system, a male guardian, usually a father, brother, or husband, has legal rights over a woman's freedom of movement, ability to work, and other aspects of life.
In April, King Salman ordered government agencies to allow women to access government services without a male guardian's consent.
While the order is considered a positive step forward and a sign that could possibly signal the beginning of the system's end, it still doesn't mean complete freedom for women.
In fact, in the same month of Salman's order, Dina Ali Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi woman, was stopped in Manila airport while attempting to escape her family and seek asylum in Australia.
She was forcibly returned to Riyadh with relatives and has not been heard from since.