Saudi women drivers face uncertain future
Women fighting for the right to drive in Saudi Arabia are sorting through conflicting reports of women arrested or stopped for driving before taking their next steps to combat the policy.
Hala Al Dosari, a women’s rights activist in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah said she has seen pictures and video from more than 50 women participating in an Oct. 26 movement defying the country’s de facto ban on driving. Al Dosari, who spoke to NewsHour via Skype on Sunday, said she and others involved in the Oct. 26 movement were trying to determine how many women were stopped by police and what charges they would face. Some women were reportedly forced to sign pledges promising not to drive again or were asked to pay fines.
According to Al Dosari, the movement can continue if the consequences for driving involve fines or pledges, but if more serious charges are brought, the movement will have to re-evaluate its strategy.
HALA AL DOSARI: The videos and the pictures we are receiving from women who drove have exceeded 50 pictures and videos.
HALA AL DOSARI: I’m trying to reach through some of the networks and through the women and through other people to find out what are the intent of the government, towards women drivers. Once that is clear we can give a clear message and signal to the women, this is going to be the expected outcome if you go out and drove your cars.
HALA AL DOSARI: If it’s just writing pledges I will definitely go. Because this is illegal, our stand, based on our reading of the traffic law, is there is not traffic law that prohibits women from driving, if I’m going to be tried legally based on the traffic laws and everything, I’m safe, and most of the women are. But if I’m going to be tried based on other disobedience measures, this is going to be really serious, it will affect a lot of women.