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Female Saudi activists arrested for driving

- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2013

Two female activists were arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia on Friday after being caught behind the wheel in Riyadh.

Aziza Al-Yousef, who was driving the car, and her passenger, Eman Al-Nafjan, said they were detained at a police station in the capital until being released into the custody of their respective husbands, who were asked to sign a statement pledging their wives would not drive again, CNN reported.

"We were looking for the police. We drove by the police station on purpose," Miss Al-Nafjan, an organizer of the popular Women's Driving Campaign earlier this year, told CNN.

Miss Al-Yousef said she wasn't deliberately looking for trouble.

"In a way it is good for the cause because you'll the keep the issue in the mind of people," she told CNN. "However, some people might understand wrongly that we're confronting the government and that might slow the process."

Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving is not backed by a specific law, but only men are granted a driver's license. In recent years, more women have spoken out and engaged in civil disobedience in hopes officials will overturn the implicit ban.

In September, a website was launched for the October 26 Women's Driving Campaign, and women began filming themselves and uploading the videos to social media sites, CNN reported.

Miss Al-Nafjan, who was detained for driving before, said she wouldn't mind being detained again for the cause.

"I wouldn't mind if they prosecuted me," she said. "I think it will further the cause. It's good publicity for the cause — to be prosecuted for being a passenger in a car driven by a woman. You can't get more medieval."

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