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Saudi Arabia Detains Activists Who Pushed to End Ban on Women Driving

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia has detained at least five people connected to the campaign to end the kingdom’s longtime ban on women driving, despite the fact that the government has promised to lift the ban next month, associates of the detainees said on Friday.

The Saudi government has billed the lifting of the driving ban as part of a reform push spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The changes have also included curtailing the powers of the religious authorities and expanding the entertainment options available in the conservative kingdom.

But those efforts have coincided with waves of arrests that have scooped up clerics, businessmen, members of the royal family and activists who have a history of challenging the government’s positions. Many of them have not been officially charged with crimes despite having been held for months.

Saudi Arabia Detains Activists Who Pushed to End Ban on Women Driving
Saudi Arabia Detains Activists Who Pushed to End Ban on Women Driving

The Saudi government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new detentions, and it remained unclear whether those detained had been charged with anything.

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