YEMEN Press Agency

Preceded by arrests, defamation: Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women’s driving

SANAA, June 24 (YPA)- Ban on women’s driving in Saudi Arabia lifted on  Sunday morning, where Saudi women were first allowed to drive after decades of banning. But this step was preceded by arrests and defamation of activists in the field of women’s and human rights.

The issue of driving a car in Saudi Arabia witnessed a great controversial in which the only country women can’t drive was the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; however, this controversy has increased following the decision to “give women the right to drive”.

Although the Saudi’s regime issued the first women’s driving licenses, speaking of a campaign of reforms and changes, the campaigns of arrests against activists continued which contradict with its statements and decisions.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is still the most restrictive on women’s rights, preceded the step of allowing women to drive the vehicle by arresting a group of activists in the field of women’s rights on charges of undermining security and stability, bringing the number of detainees in nearly two months to 17 and activists.

Among the detainees were: Jane al-Hathlol, who was detained in 2014 for over of 70 days on charges of trying to enter Saudi Arabia as she drove from the United Arab Emirates, and she was released after international pressure to be arrested again more than a month ago.

Also, Aziza al-Yusuf, a retired female professor who is active in advocating for women’s rights based on the teachings of Islam, was also arrested over charges of driving a car.

The Kingdom is ranked 188 out of 144 countries in an indication of the gender gap.

Many rights and matters are still banned in Saudi Arabia, under the guardianship laws, including opening a bank account and obtaining a passport.

The guardianship laws extended to other aspects of women’s lives, including work, study or even access to certain types of health care.