Omani women detained for driving in Saudi Arabia

'A citizen tipped off Saudi police patrols that two women were driving cars with Omani licences', newspaper reports.

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RIYADH // Two Omani women were detained for driving in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to take to the wheel, Saudi media reported yesterday.

Police detained the two women drivers travelling with their families on the road connecting the capital Riyadh to the western city of Taef.

"A citizen tipped off police patrols that two women were driving cars with Omani licences", Al Hayat newspaper reported.

"The two women were detained and informed that women did not have the right to drive. They had to sign a commitment not to reoffend," it added.

In late June Saudi police arrested five Saudi women for getting behind the wheel in defiance of a ban on female drivers in the kingdom.

Their actions came in response to a call on the internet for women in Riyadh to drive, after a show of defiance on June 17 in which 42 women took to the road.

Since then, "women defy the ban each day in different cities of the kingdom," an activist said on condition of anonymity, saying that her own mother had done so in Riyadh.

No law officially forbids women from driving in Saudi Arabia but a religious edict stipulates that women must be driven by a male chauffeur or family member.