BEHIND THE WHEEL

Saudi Arabia Arrests Women’s Rights Activists Ahead of Driving Ban Lift

Saudi Arabia has detained at least six activists who advocated for the removal of the country’s ban on female drivers just weeks before the ban is set to be lifted, according to Amnesty International. State media reportedly called the women “traitors,” accusing them of “contact with foreign entities with the aim of undermining the country’s stability and social fabric.” Loujain al-Hathloul, who was detained for 73 days in 2014 for driving in protest of the ban, was one of the arrested activists. Five other activists and women’s rights advocates were also arrested. “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has presented himself as a ‘reformer,’ but such promises fall flat amid the intensifying crackdown on dissenting voices in the kingdom,” Amnesty’s Samah Hadid said in a press release. “His pledges amount to very little if those who fought for the right to drive are now all behind bars for peacefully campaigning for freedom of movement and equality.”