Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Police fine car owners for allowing Saudi women to drive

The fines in Eastern Province coincide with a campaign called by women’s rights activists to challenge the ban on women driving in the kingdom late next month.

Saudi traffic police have fined several car owners after six women were found defying the kingdom’s male-only driving rules, according to a Saudi daily.

The fines in Eastern Province coincide with a campaign called by women’s rights activists to challenge the ban on women driving in the kingdom late next month.

Traffic police issued fines totalling 5,400 riyals (Dh5,300) for allowing “an unqualified person to drive”, Al Sharq newspaper reported, quoting an acting police spokesman.

“The cases were stopped near the beach and in uninhabited areas that are still being developed,” Major Mansour Al Shakra said. “They were driving for fun and not to learn how to drive.”

No laws explicitly ban Saudi women from driving, but citizens must use locally issued licences. These are not issued to women, making it in effect illegal for them to drive.

Women who have defied the rules in the past have also faced charges of organising political protests.

A group of Saudi activists last week called on women to get behind the wheel on October 26 to challenge the ban.

At least two similar campaigns in the past two years have failed to bring change, with the authorities detaining several women and making them sign pledges not to drive again.

King Abdullah has pushed some cautious social reforms in Saudi Arabia, including efforts to bring more women into the workforce and to give them a voice in policymaking by appointing them to the advisory Shoura Council.

* Reuters

Updated: September 25, 2013 04:00 AM