Saudi human rights activist fined for driving herself to the hospital

Aliyah Al Farid has refused to sign an undertaking to stop driving, citing the fact there is no official law against it

(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

A female member of Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has reportedly been fined for driving herself to the hospital.

When police pulled her over, Aliyah Al Farid said she had a medical emergency and there was no one available to drive her to the hospital so she took her husband’s car.

The officers reportedly allowed her to continue driving. They followed her to the hospital and waited while she saw a doctor, before taking her to the traffic department where she was fined for driving without a licence.

Women are unable to get a driver’s licence in Saudi Arabia, despite there being no law against women driving.

Al Farid has been arrested for driving twice previously and has participated in campaigns to allow female drivers, but told Arabic daily Al Hayat on this occasion it was an emergency.

“I told the traffic officers that I had to drive because it was an emergency case,” she said.
“I didn’t do it on purpose and I’m not after fame or media hype. I was very sick and that was it.”

She said she also occasionally drove patients at her centre for persons with special needs when they urgent medical attention.

“We can’t leave an epileptic patient convulsing on the ground while waiting for our male driver to come and transport him to hospital,” she said.

“I have to get behind the steering wheel and do it.”

Al Farid has refused to sign an undertaking not to drive again, citing the fact there is no law prohibiting women from driving; it has become a cultural custom routinely enforced by the unofficial religious police (haia).

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Posted by: Rational Muslim

A simple question to M/s HAIA personnel:

* During the days of Prophet Mohammed (s.a.a.w) women were allowed to ride (which equivalent to driving) their own horses and camels by themselves; however, in the 21st century, women are not allowed to drive their own car ( which is equivalent to a horse or camel in the back old good days).... why and how to explain this phenomenon??

Posted by: Doug

@Binshamak, can you let us know what those pros and cons are? I only ask because it seems strange that Saudi Arabia is literally the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive - and this of course means that every other Muslim country permits its women to drive a car.

I am interested to learn though that apparently there is no law against it

Posted by: Binshamak

This is based on a Fatwa. Who best know whats good for their society , culture and system better than their own scholars.Protecting the capital is better than risking for profit. Also with cars one can travel long distances and be exposed to the elements and dangerous situations. Any way considering the pros and cons it is best for women not to drive in the kingdom.

Posted by: Bruce

Can somebody stop this nonsense. It's just goofy that this goes on anywhere.

Posted by: Abu Abdullah

The term "unofficial religious police" in this article should be replaced with religious police. There is nothing unofficial about the Haia. They receive salaries, office space, and vehicles paid for by the Saudi government. Arabian Business should not perpetuate the false claim that the Haia are an unofficial institution. They are a government institution.

Posted by: anon

If only the people that enforced this law were to suffer a severe medical emergency with only women around to take them to the hospital. I'd refuse. "I can't drive"

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