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Two Saudi Women Detained for Driving

Saudi activists say that police have detained two women in Riyadh caught breaking an official ban on females driving.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/12/2013, 5:44 AM

Saudi woman gets out of car
Saudi woman gets out of car
AFP photo

Saudi activists said on Wednesday that police have detained two women in Riyadh caught breaking an official ban on females driving.

The activists told The Associated Press (AP) that the women were stopped Wednesday afternoon and taken to a local police station where their male relatives were also called in.

A long-standing campaign aimed at getting the Saudi Arabian driving ban lifted has recently urged women to defy the ban. In recent situations where women were caught driving, their male relatives were asked to sign statements saying they would not allow the women to drive again.

The activists, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for their security, said that Wednesday's detentions are unique because the women have been detained hours longer than usual without being released.

Many women have driven since the campaign was launched in 2011, some of them have posted videos of them doing so, and many have been arrested and forced to sign a pledge that they will never drive again.

Last year, a Saudi women’s rights activist filed a lawsuit against the country’s interior ministry over the ban.

The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia recently claimed that the ban on women driving in the conservative Gulf state protects society from "evil".

Human rights group Amnesty International has released a scathing report which levels harsh criticism against Saudi Arabia, accusing it of failing to live up to its pledge to improve human rights.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s many violations of human rights, it was recently accepted to the UN Human Rights Council, being one of several countries with questionable human rights records to win seats in this body.