- Ambassador to Canada from Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia
Saudi authorities have arrested an activist who launched a campaign to challenge a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom and posted a video on the internet of her behind the wheel, activists said.
"Police arrested her at 3am this morning," said Maha Taher, another activist who launched her own campaign for women driving four months ago to spread awareness of the issue.
Women are not allowed to drive and must have written approval from a designated guardian - a father, husband, brother or son - to leave the country, work or travel abroad.
"When the police stopped her they told her she violated the 'norms'. There is no law that says women can't drive in Saudi Arabia and this arrest is unjust. She is a role model for a lot of people and the arrest will provoke her supporters. Now more women want to drive," Taher said.
Release Manal Al Sharif from jail, she has committed no crime by driving her car.
Osamah A. Al Sanosi Ahmad,
In the name of god the most merciful and the most gracious;
Peace be upon you.
We the children of the world have been very hurt by the news of the arrest of the Saudi Arabian citizen Manal Masoud Al Sharif on Saturday 22//5/2011 on the grounds of her driving her car in the streets of Khobar in the company of her brother. And while we were relieved at her release in the evening, we were shocked by her detention again at dawn in a very humiliating way for both our country and its people, since she was asked to sign a warrant and was instead tricked and arrested against her will. Manal is at Dammam’s Correctional at this very moment.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques stated in 2007 to the Russian News Network that the issue of Women Driving is a social one and that the state was to facilitate the suitable environment for any decision that the society deems appropriate. The Minister of Interior have also stated that the issue is a social one and not religious, which theoretically means that if the society wants to lift the ban then there should be no obstacles. The same thing was repeated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs: that the decision for women to drive the car is up to her family. Abdullah Al Munee’a, a member of the Higher Council of Ulama, has said that there is no objection from the religious point of view for women to drive. In addition, article 38 of the Basic Law states: there should be no personal or criminal punishment that is not based on a religious or official decree; and since the issue of women driving is not a violation of any official law or any religious law, then women should not be arrested for driving their cars based on article 36 that prohibits the baseless restriction on actions and arrest.
We call on you to ask Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to release his daughter and citizen Manal Al Sharif immediately and lift the injustice that have been placed on her, since she drove her car with the company of her brother, with his consent, and she had a recognized driving license in accordance with the Traffic law as outlined by article 2 section 34 of the law.
We also believe that the time has come to resolve the issue of women’s driving for once and for all in a clear manner. We are in a desperate need for a clear law that allows women to drive.
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, says that women are his wife, mother and daughter.. his daughter Manal Al Sharif is in jail for no crime that she committed.. will he remove this injustice? We all hope for the prompt freedom for Manal.
May God Bless You and Look after You.
The Free Manal Al Sharif petition to Ambassador to Canada from Saudi Arabia was written by Susan Top and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.