Saudi women were just granted driver's licenses in historic move

Posted June 05, 2018

She said some Saudi Arabian women had traveled to other countries in the region to get their driving licenses and experience in preparation for the team's arrival.

It added that several centres across the country were distributing the Saudi cards and that women who had foreign licences had to take a brief practical test to ensure they were proficient behind the wheel.

The three are among the most outspoken and well-known women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi authorities have since released less than half of those detained. Rights groups say four women remain in custody, facing possible trial.

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The lifting of the driving ban was announced last September and is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's programme to modernise some aspects of Saudi society.

The first 10 women took a brief driving test before receiving a license, as they'd already held licenses to drive in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Lebanon. He said they will have permission to drive anywhere in the kingdom, including the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

"Because these women are so Western and liberal, and they are being feted in the West. they help give meat to that narrative with Saudi conservative public opinion", Shihabi said. Women have been required to get the permission of a male guardian for nearly every activity.

"Now we have videos of traffic police handing over these driver's licences to divert the world's attention from the fact that the women who were actually behind championing the cause. are not only in prison but have been charged and potentially face very, very long sentences", she said.

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About 2,000 licences are expected to be issued for women next week, according to a statement by the ministry of information. They also "sought to recruit persons working in sensitive government posts as well as providing financial support to hostile elements overseas".

The issuing of the driver's licenses comes on the heels of authorities temporarily releasing eight activists arrested last month who protested the country's ban on driving.

"If, as it appears, their detention is related exclusively to their work as human rights defenders and activists on women's issues, they should be released immediately", she said.

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