Want to Drive in Saudi Arabia? You Can't

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[Imagine if you lived in a country and couldn't drive. One Saudi woman fought back and spent nine days in prison. Manal al-Sharif was freed this week after supposedly agreeing to quit encouraging Saudi women to drive. As founder of Women2Drive, Manal inspired women everywhere when she took to the Saudi streets in her family car and posted a video of her illicit activity on YouTube. Soon the streets were filled with rebellious ladies in cars. If the ban weren't so outrageous, it would almost be comical.

Although Saudi officials claim that Manal has promised to drop her support of a June 17th protest, her Saudi sisters-in-arms aren't convinced. "I am sure they told her we shouldn't continue with this issue," Wjeha al-Huwaider, a women's rights activist and friend of Manal, told The Guardian. Kyra Stoddart and Jennifer Gmerek of Amnesty International's Human Rights blog have some background on Manal's case. -Mona]

Woman Challenging Ban on Driving Arrested in Saudi Arabia

They write:

Saudi Arabian traffic police reportedly stopped Manal al-Sharif while she was driving her car at around 5pm on May 21 accompanied by her brother, Muhammad al-Sharif.

They were detained by the religious and traffic police but released after about six hours and after they had apparently been made to sign pledges that she would not again drive in Saudi Arabia.

Both were then re-arrested in the early hours of May 22, taken to a police station and questioned before Manal al-Sharif was transferred a women’s prison in Dammam, where she continues to be held. Muhammad al-Sharif was released late on May 22.

Read the full post at Amnesty USA.

Saudi Driver

Credit Image: © Xinhua/ZUMApress.com

Read more from Want to Drive in Saudi Arabia? You Can't at AmnestyUSA

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