Saudi teenage driver arrested for impersonating a woman

Saudi teenage driver arrested for impersonating a woman
Many believed the motive of the teenager was to defame women drivers in the kingdom.
2 min read
01 July, 2018
Drifting is illegal in Saudi Arabia [Getty]

A teenager in Saudi Arabia has been arrested after pretending to be a woman whilst drifting in his car.

The teenager was spotted by officers when they initially thought they had caught a female driver drifting earlier this week - an illegal act in the kingdom - but soon realised the person behind the wheel was a 19-year-old man impersonating a woman in the northern city of Tabuk, close to the Saudi-Jordanian border.

The teenager, along with one other person, were both arrested at the scene, according to the spokesperson for the Tabuk traffic authority, for committing what many are interpreting as a stunt to defame the kingdom's new women drivers.

Saudi women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time in decades on Sunday after the kingdom overturned the world's only ban on female motorists.

The much-trumpeted move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to modernise the conservative petrostate - but it has been dented by the jailing of female activists who long opposed the driving ban.

However, much of the initial optimism over Prince Mohammed's reforms appears to have been knocked by a major crackdown on women driving activists.

Authorities have said nine of 17 arrested people remain behind bars, accused of undermining security and aiding enemies of the state.

The detainees include 28-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul - also held in 2014 for more than 70 days for attempting to drive from neighbouring United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia - and Aziza al-Yousef, a retired professor at Riyadh's King Saud University.