2 Saudi women arrested for driving

Two detained by police before refusing to call their male relatives from police station

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 11:48 December 12, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Two Saudi women were detained at a police station for driving a car in the capital Riyadh and refusing afterwards to call their male custodians to take them home.

Azza Al Shamsi and Baria Al Zubaidi were caught by the police as they were driving the car near a shopping complex.

Azza was behind the steering wheel and Baria was filming her.

When they were taken to the police station, they refused to call their male relatives as is customary in the kingdom, arguing that they were legally responsible for their acts and did not need custodianship, Saudi news site Khabar 24 reported.

The security sources cited by the site said that the two women seemed to have deliberately sought to be detained to prove their right to drive.

Although no legal text or rule bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia, the practice is not allowed.

Women drivers are detained for driving without a Saudi licence and they are invariably allowed to go home after they sign a pledge not to drive again.

News of the decision by Azza and Baria to drive in Riyadh sparked a new heated online debate that indicated the widening chasm between those who supported and opposed women driving in the kingdom.

Both sides have been using social, economic and religious arguments to prove their points and undermine the claims made by the others.

 

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