JEDDAH: Najla Hariri, the Saudi woman detained for driving on Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz Street (Tahlia) on Tuesday evening, was released on Wednesday, according to local newspapers.
Hariri, a social activist, said she was taking her employed daughter, Dalia, from her workplace in north Jeddah to their home in Al-Hamra district when she was stopped by police, who took her to Sharafiyah police station.
Hariri said the police chauffeured her to the police station in her car. She was detained at the police station till her husband signed for her release and took her and the car back home.
She was quoted by a number of local newspapers as saying that she was not made to sign any pledge of not driving a car in the future. “I only signed papers regarding the case report,” she said.
Hariri said she was released without bail but Jeddah police spokesman Brig. Misfir Al-Juaid said she was released on bail and that the case would be transferred to the concerned authorities.
She said she was treated with respect and dignity by the police.
Hariri, in her 40s, drove for the first time in Jeddah last May. This was the second time she was breaking the rules banning women from driving. She told Al-Watan newspaper that if she was forced by circumstance to get behind the wheel, she would do it again.
The newspaper said Hariri was part of an Internet campaign titled “Women2Drive” on the social networks Twitter and Facebook in which a number of Saudi men and women were advocating the right of women to drive cars in the Kingdom.
Manal Al-Sherif, a 32-year-old computer security consultant, was arrested on May 22 and detained for 10 days after posting on YouTube a video of herself driving her car around the eastern city of Alkhobar.
Five Saudi women were arrested at the wheels of their cars in late June in Jeddah.