A leading Saudi women’s rights activist, who campaigns for women to get behind the wheel, finally obtained her second official driving license, but from the UAE.
On Tuesday, Manal al-Sharif posted a picture of her showing off her Dubai driving license on Twitter.
“Today, I got my second driver’s license from UAE, that is valid for 10 years , my first one is from the States... and soon I will have my Saudi driver’s license.. very soon,” a Facebook group quoted the activist as saying.
Around 334 people commented on “We are supporting Manal al-Sharif” Facebook group, which has 12, 307 likes, mainly to congratulate the activist.
Al-Sharif was arrested earlier this year for driving a vehicle in Saudi Arabia, she was released on bail on May 30th 2012.
With the help of another women’s rights activist, Wajeha al-Huwaider, Sharif filmed herself driving. Her video was posted on both YouTube and Facebook.
Saudi authorities released Sharif on the conditions that she should not drive and must refrain from talking to the media.
In June of 2011, women activists launched a Women2Drive campaign on social media networks, with many also braving the ban and posting videos of themselves driving in the Kingdom.
The following June, activists cancelled plans to get behind the steering wheel on the first anniversary of their campaign, opting instead to petition King Abdullah to lift the ban.
Their campaign, which spread through Facebook and Twitter, was the largest case of mass action since November 1990, when 47 Saudi women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars.
Women in the kingdom who have the means are able to hire drivers, while others must depend on the goodwill of male relatives.
They are also obliged to be veiled in public, and cannot travel unless accompanied by their husbands or a close male relative.