Saudi women sue for right to drive

Two females have filed a lawsuit against the government for banning them from driving and refusing to issue them with drivers licence
Saudi is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. (Getty Images)
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Wed 08 Feb 2012 11:55 AM

Two female Saudi activists have filed a law suit against the government for banning them from driving in the Gulf state and refusing to issue them with a driver’s licence, it has been reported.

The lawsuits, one of which has was filed by Manal al Sharif, who founded the Women2Drive movement last year, is a further push by activists after years of petitioning Saudi leaders for permission to drive.

“There is no actual law that states woman can't drive” in Saudi Arabia and therefore “no justification for preventing them from issuing a licence,” al Sharif told newswire AFP.

Human rights activist Samar Badawi said the grievance board at the interior ministry had informed her to “follow-up in a week” to confirm a court appointment for her lawsuit.

While there is no written law that specifically bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia, senior government clerics have issued several religious edicts that prohibit women from driving.

Al Sharif was detained for ten days in May after posting a YouTube video of herself driving. Her video attracted more than 500,000 viewers before it was pulled from the video sharing website.

In May, Saudi woman used the Facebook and Twitter social-networking websites to call for females with international driver’s licenses to use their cars June 17. They said their plan wasn’t a protest.

Al Sharif was injured last week and her companion killed in a car accident last week. The activist was driving in the northern Hael province when her car overturned, it was reported.

“One woman was immediately killed and her companion who was driving the car was hospitalised after she suffered several injuries” police spokesperson Abdulaziz al-Zunaidi said.

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