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The New Arab

'Special detention centres' to be established for Saudi women drivers

Saudi women will be allowed to drive from next year [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2017

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Saudi Arabia will open women-only detention centres for drivers who violate road rules once the kingdom's notorious gender ban is lifted.

Saudi women who are arrested for violating road rules will be held in "special detention centres", local media has reported, as the kingdom gets ready to lift a ban on women drivers.

Labour and social development ministry spokesman Khaled Aba al-Khail told Saudi newspaper al-Watan that officials are working with the interior ministry to establish female-only jails ready for an end to a ban on women drivers next year.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to enforce such gender-based restrictions on road users.

Universities are now preparing to open driving schools to teach drivers and trainers who are being recruited among Saudi women who hold international driving licenses.

They will also undertake additional courses to ensure they are proficient in teaching other Saudi women to drive.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced in September that women would be allowed to drive from 2018.

It comes as part of social reforms by the prince - who wields almost total power in the country - to make the kingdom more attractive country to young Saudis and foreign investors.

Human rights groups are concerned by a wave of arrests of dissidents and powerful figures, as Mohammed bin Salman looks to exercise total control of political life.

Despite the preparations to lift the gender ban, some Saudi women have been arrested for hitting the roads prematurely.

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