Saudi activists appealed to their country’s ruler on Monday to free two women who were detained last week after taking part in an ongoing campaign to challenge the conservative kingdom’s ban on “driving while female.”
In their open letter to the 90-year-old King Abdullah, the activists behind the Oct. 26 Driving campaign said that Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysaa al-Amoudi, who both have valid driver’s licenses from the United Arab Emirates, were arrested on Dec. 1 at a border crossing between Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. after they were tricked by the authorities. Relatives said that their detentions were extended by at least 25 more days on Sunday.
Ms. Hathloul was arrested after she drove from U.A.E. to the Saudi border to highlight what activists call the absurdity of a Saudi woman not being allowed to drive her own car into her native land.
On her journey, Ms. Hathloul recorded video of herself behind the wheel that has drawn nearly 1 million views since it was posted on YouTube.