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Middle East

Kuwaiti woman arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving her diabetic father to hospital

Arrest comes a week after Saudi women staged a protest against the country’s female driving ban

A Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving her diabetic father to hospital, a local newspaper reported on Sunday.

The arrest came a week after a number of Saudi women protested against the country's ban on female drivers by taking to the wheel and posting pictures and videos of themselves in the act online.

The woman was driving in an area just over the border from Kuwait with her father in the passenger seat, when she was stopped by police, the English language Kuwait Times said.

Kuwaitis and Saudi locals regularly cross between the countries and communities living along the border are often a mix of both nationalities.

Citing police, the paper reported that the woman, who said her diabetic father could not drive and needed to be taken to hospital for treatment, is being held in custody pending an investigation.

Kuwaiti women are free to drive in their country and enjoy far more rights than those in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to travel abroad, open a bank account or work without permission from a male relative.

Kuwaiti women gained the right to vote and stand for political office in 2005, after years of campaigning and a push by senior ruling family members.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has pushed some cautious reforms to give women more employment opportunities and a greater public voice, but has often faced resistance from senior clergy.

A YouTube video mocking Saudi Arabia‘s ban on female drivers titled ‘No Woman, No Drive’, released on 26 October, the day of the women’s protest, has since achieved global fame.

The creation of Saudi-American comedian Hisham Fageeh, it quickly became the most popular YouTube video in Saudi Arabia and currently has over 9.5m views.