Saudi women sue for right to drive

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Saudi is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. (Getty Images)

Saudi is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. (Getty Images)

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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Posted by: T Crowe Semler

The Women of Saudia Arabia deserve "the right to drive" and all their civil rights...
The women of Saudi Arabia will bring about the social reforms I promise you. Historically women have been the catalysis for social change. The "suffragette" movement is alive and well in Saudi Arabia.

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