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Police In Saudi Arabia Charge Three Women For Driving
August 27, 2013
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Women walking outside the Olaya mall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in November, 2012 (Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

In Saudi Arabia, women are banned from getting behind the wheel and driving. In recent months, three women have been stopped and charged for doing just that.

Police stopped three female drivers in Al-Qatif, in eastern Saudi Arabia, fined them 900 Saudi riyals ($240) each, and made them sign a legal document promising that they would not drive again, Thomson Reuters reports.

According to Arabian Business, the incidents have led to "a new crackdown on female drivers," with authorities warning that any woman caught operating a vehicle will face the same punishment.

In one case, a Turkish woman was pulled over while driving with an international driver's license. Saudi officials say they do not recognize licenses issued by other countries.

In another, police charged a 47-year-old woman who had filmed herself driving with her father and brother and uploaded the video to YouTube.

Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi woman who gained international attention after releasing a video of herself driving in Saudi Arabia and starting the Women2Drive campaign, delivered this TED Talk in June about what happened to herself and her family after the video came out:

Technically, it's not illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia. There are no specific traffic laws against female drivers, CNN reports, but religious edicts are often interpreted as forbidding the practice.

Back in 2011, a Change.org petition asking King Abdullah to lift the ban on women driving received over 34,000 signatures.

And prominent Saudi activist Princess Ameerah Al Taweel has spoken repeatedly about her support of women lobbying to overturn the ban.

Via Trust.org

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