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Detained Saudi woman driver appeals for bail
KHALID AL-BALAHADI, YASSMIN AL-SEHAIMI & MUHAMMAD AL-ENIZI
DAMMAM: Manal Masoud Al-Sharief, the Saudi woman detained at Dammam’s Women’s Prison after being arrested for driving a car in Al-Khobar earlier this week, has requested release on bail.
Al-Sharief’s lawyer Adnan Al-Salih, said the request was made Monday and that his client was awaiting a response from the Eastern Province Emirate.
She is being held on charges of “rallying public opinion and inciting women to drive cars”.
“The initial measures taken against her in terms of holding her for investigation for five days are regulatory,” he said.
“She had been investigated by the authority that first detained her, Al-Khobar Traffic Police, and they completed their inquiries and released her, but she has now been arrested over a ‘criminal case’,” Al-Salih said.
He said the investigator can legitimately hold Al-Sharief for 24 hours or more depending on the investigation and the nature and extent of the crime concerned.
“We are working to have her released as she is a working mother, so her detention is affecting both her job and her family,” he said.
Al-Sharief herself is reportedly calm and unperturbed at her detention, spending much of her time in conversation with other inmates. She is not being held in a single cell, and as of Monday was expecting her first visitor, her father.
A Prison Administration official said she was being treated “just like any other inmate”.
Al-Sharief, who was born in 1979 and is a divorcee with a four-year-old son, is believed to be the first Saudi woman to obtain the ISO 27701 certification from the United States as an information technology auditor. She currently works in that capacity as a supervisor at Aramco.
With a valid US driving license, Al-Sharief is said to be backed in her support for women driving by her father and brother.
Saudi Gazette article about Manal al-Sharief