Saudi Arabia begins issuing driving licenses to women

Move comes as the kingdom prepares to lift its decades-long ban on female drivers on June 24

Saudi Arabia started issuing its first driving licences to women weeks before the kingdom lifts a ban on female drivers.

But Prince Mohammed, who recently undertook a global tour aimed at reshaping his kingdom's austere image, has sought to break with long-held restrictions on women.

A Saudi government statement released on Saturday said that the activists had been arrested on charges that included "suspicious contact with foreign parties", without naming them.

The AP reports that the women now under arrest could potentially face a trial.

Saudia Arabia on Monday began handing out driving licenses to women as it prepares to end its ban on women driving later this month. They also "sought to recruit persons working in sensitive government posts as well as providing financial support to hostile elements overseas". Saudi women had also been banned from voting until 2015, when they were allowed to vote in local elections. The women were arrested, lost their jobs and had their passports confiscated for a year.

The Ministry of Information said this week that thousands of driving licenses are expected to be issued to women before the ban officially lifts. Often, police would detain a female driver until a male relative could pick her up and sign a pledge on her behalf that she would not drive again.




This development follows reports indicating Saudi Arabia arrested 17 activists for allegedly protesting the Kingdom's restrictive driving laws.

Ultra-conservatives viewed women driving as immoral and warned they would be subject to sexual harassment if they drove.

He said the 32-year-old prince has done more than any king in the last 50 years to advance women's rights in Saudi Arabia - an effort that has required him to push back against a "very strong, conservative, reactionary part of society that has been resisting these changes for decades".

But the kingdom faces steep economic challenges as well as a burgeoning young population that, with access to the world through the internet, sees women in neighbouring Muslim countries driving freely.

The highly anticipated move to allow women to drive forms part of de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's wave of liberalising reforms granting women basic human rights in order to remodel the kingdom as a credible trading partner to worldwide powers and firms.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Serena sets up Sharapova blockbuster at French Open
Jun 04, 2018 - 01:23
Tsurenko has now reached the last 16 in Paris for the first time, equalling her best run at a Slam at the 2016 US Open. Serena Williams plays Maria Sharapova on Monday for a place in the women's singles quarterfinals.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Taliban leaders involved in Farah city attack killed in Helmand HIMARS strike
Jun 02, 2018 - 00:43
Another example of a failed enemy attack took place today, the general said. Martin O'Donnell, spokesman for USA forces in Afghanistan.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Israel source: Russian Federation to back Israel against Iran in Syria
Jun 01, 2018 - 17:17
Assad told the interviewer he had no nickname for Trump because "This is not my language, so, I can not use similar language". Assad has said that direct conflict between his ally Russian Federation and the United States in Syria was narrowly avoided.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top LeBron, Curry put on show, Game 1 tied at half
Jun 01, 2018 - 17:03
Despite the grueling series with the Rockets that went seven games, Warriors fans shouldn't worry about player's focus. His performance drew strong praise from Warriors coach Steve Kerr , who played alongside Jordan at the Chicago Bulls.

European Union has 'gun held to head' on steel tariffs
May 31, 2018 - 19:26
Trump announced worldwide steel and aluminum tariffs in March but granted exemptions to some major trading partners. Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Apple's iOS 11.4 could finally make the HomePod worth buying
May 30, 2018 - 13:09
When a second HomePod is set up in the same room, the user will be asked if they would like to form a stereo pair automatically. Conversations are still end-to-end encrypted, Apple points out, and Messages in iCloud isn't enabled by default.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pokemon Quest Announced For Switch, Smartphones: Available Now On Switch
May 30, 2018 - 12:28
This player can help you catch Pokemon and can battle alongside you (though it doesn't appear to initiate a double battle). One of the main differences from previous Pokemon games seems to be the battle system.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alberto nears the Florida panhandle, bringing rain, gusty winds
May 29, 2018 - 01:57
Later, it cancelled storm surge warnings for most of the Florida peninsula, saying the Panhandle remained the focus of concern. It was expected to reach land Monday afternoon or evening as it headed north at about 8 miles per hour (13 kph).

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Cruise Lines Monitor Subtropical Storm Alberto in Gulf of Mexico
May 28, 2018 - 07:12
Residents can expect gusty wind near the coast, isolated tornados and localized flooding from heavy rainfall , the advisory says. The Taylor County Board of County Commissioners signed a local state of emergency Sunday morning for Subtropical Storm Alberto .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Five Keys: Cavaliers at Celtics - Game 7
May 28, 2018 - 06:33
The Wine & Gold's bench will get a little thinner on Sunday night with Jeff Green moving into the starting lineup. The Celtics are hosting the Cavaliers in Game 7 of a series in which the home team has won every game.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Indy 500: Australian Will Power posts historic win in Indianapolis
May 28, 2018 - 06:02
TV cameras were panning to Power's wife, Elizabeth, during the race, and she was clearly a nervous wreck. Her historic auto racing career will come to an end at the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Suspect in custody after shooting at in middle school
May 26, 2018 - 03:26
After last week's Texas high school shooting, elected officials and survivors there have voiced support for gun rights. Noblesville High School was on lockdown temporarily after a threat was received via text message.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kim Meeting More Likely Than Mueller One, Giuliani Says
May 26, 2018 - 02:46
"Even if Flood wasn't there for any operative parts of the meeting, the optics are disquieting", said Stephen I. Later, the White House said it would try to hold the bipartisan meeting before the holiday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United States reports brain injury after 'sound' incident in China
May 23, 2018 - 21:13
USA diplomats there experienced possible " sonic attacks ", and the US eventually reduced the number of American employees there. Responding to these claims, the Cuban Foreign Ministry denied any Cuban involvement in the alleged attacks.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tamil Nadu anti-Sterlite protests: Death toll mounts to 10
May 23, 2018 - 20:55
Two policemen were also injured, doctors at the hospital said, adding that all injured were stable. The Tamil Nadu government ordered a judicial inquiry into the police firing on Tuesday.