Saudi Arabia

Saudi activists set to defy no-women driving law


Activists in Saudi Arabia are set to defy a no-women driving law by getting behind the wheel amid warnings of punishment by officials.

Saudi activists are encouraging women to drive themselves in public on Sunday on the anniversary of an October 26 campaign last year by female drivers in defiance of a driving ban in the kingdom.

In recent weeks, campaigners have been pushing on social media for women to get behind the wheel and post pictures or films online.

The call is part of a renewed right-to-drive campaign which is scheduled to culminate this weekend.

Saudi authorities have strongly warned women against any move which would violate the female driving ban.

In a statement on Thursday, Saudi Interior Ministry warned women against any move which violates the kingdom’s controversial ban on female driving and said it will “strictly implement” measures against anyone who “contributes in any manner or by any acts, towards providing violators with the opportunity to undermine the social cohesion.”

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving. The medieval ban is a religious fatwa imposed by the country’s Wahhabi clerics. If women get behind the wheel in the kingdom, they may be arrested, sent to court and even flogged.

Saudi authorities have defied calls by international rights groups to end what has been described as its violation of women’s rights.

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