LEBANON: Saudi Arabia issued their first driver’s licenses to 10 women on Mon as the kingdom ready to lift the planet’s only ban on women driving in three several weeks, but some who campaigned for the right to drive remain under police arrest.
A government statement said the 10 girls that were released licenses already held driving a car licenses from a different nation, including the US, UK, Lebanon and Canada. They took a simple driving test and eyesight exam before being granted the licenses at the typical Department of Traffic in the capital, Riyadh. Essential media were not present for the wedding.
Other women across the country have been preparing for the right to drive on June 24 through driving a car courses on female-only school campuses. Some are even training to become individuals for ride hailing companies like Uber.
Saudi women had long complained of having to use costly guy drivers, use taxis or rely on male family to get to work and run errands.
The surprise move to concern some women licenses early on came as activists who had campaigned for the right to drive stay under arrest, facing possible trial.
Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor said Sunday that 19 people had been jailed in recent weeks on suspicion of aiming to challenge security and stability, a case activists said targeted prominent women’s rights campaigners.
The prosecutor’s statement said eight have been quickly released, while five men and four women continue to be under arrest. Among the women held since May possibly 15 are Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef and Eman al-Nafjan, according to people with knowledge of the arrests who’ve spoken towards the Associated Press on current condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions.
The three are among the most outspoken and popular women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia. They not only risked arrest by pushing for the right drive an automobile for years, but also called for an end to guardianship regulations that give male family final say over a woman marrying or vacationing abroad.
Their activism was seen as part of a larger democratic and civil rights push in the kingdom.
They now face a number of charges, including conntacting people and organizations hostile to the kingdom and providing financial and moral support to hostile elements abroad. State-linked media have known the group as “foreign charge agents” and branded them traitors.
Three other expert women’s rights activists were briefly detained at the onset of the mop. They had taken part in the first demonstration in 1990 against the kingdom’s ban on women driving.
Nearly 50 women took part in that first driving protest some 28 years ago. The ladies were arrested, lost their jobs, had their passports confiscated for a year and faced severe stigmatization.
Others were held over time during various initiatives by women’s rights active supporters and workers to drive. While Saudi law has never clearly banned women from driving a car, women were not granted driving licenses. Often, authorities would detain a male driver until a man relative could pick her up and sign a pledge on her behalf behalf that she would not drive again.
Ultraconservatives viewed women driving as immoral and warned women would be subject to sexual being a nuisance if they drove. Merely four years ago, the country’s top cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, said barring women from driving “was in the best interest of society” because it protected them from having to package with an accident.
These kinds of days, the dominion confronts steep monetary challenges and has a burgeoning young population that has gain access to the world through the internet and recognizes women in neighboring Muslim countries driving freely.
To boost our economy and ease international criticism, Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old Crown Knight in shining armor Mohammed bin Salman has been promoting changes, like the decision to allow women to drive, all while risking backlash from clerics and more who conform to the ultraconservative Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.
The prince has also attemptedto appeal to young Saudis by opening the country to more entertainment, allowing music concerts and delivering the first commercial movie theater to Arab saudi this year.
However, protection under the law groups say the court of activists by the crown prince’s security makes are an try to quiet dissent as women make to drive for the first time, and could be a way to get cold any calls for better reforms.
The spokeswoman for the UN High Office for Human Rights, Liz Throssell, has described the crackdown as “perplexing. inch
“If, as it looks, their detention is related solely with their work as human rights defenders and activists on women’s issues, they should be released immediately, ” she said.