BREAKING: Manal al-Sharif Released From Prison

Manal al-Sharif, the Saudi Arabian woman who challenged the ban on women driving in her country, has been freed from prison today. Two weeks ago, Al-Sharif had a friend videotape her driving and called, via Facebook and other social media sites, for a “mass drive” of women on June 17th. An information technology specialist with the state-run oil company Aramco, Al-Sharif was arrested on May 21 and imprisoned first for five days and then for 10 more days. 

The reasons for her release were not noted by authorities and al-Sharif has reportedly signed an agreement not to drive again or to speak to reporters. Via Twitter, Ahmed Al Omran says that al-Sharif was released on bail paid by her father. 

According to the New York Times, “international pressure for her freedom” played a part in al-Sharif’s release:

The Saudi activist, Waleed Aboul Khair, credited al-Sherif’s release on “pressure from inside and outside” Saudi Arabia, which follows an austere brand of Islam known as Wahhabism that is enforced by morality police.

…Aboul Khair said he still plans to press ahead with a petition asking Saudi authorities to lift the driving ban on women — the only such rule in the world.

There is no written Saudi law banning women from driving — only fatwas, or religious edicts, by senior clerics. They claim it protects against the spread of vice and temptation because women drivers would be free to leave home alone and interact with male strangers. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers or rely on male relatives to drive.

Al-Sharif’s release was announced on Twitter; you can follow updates via #Women2Drive.

Please sign this petition to end the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.

To all those who signed the petition to release Manal al-Sharif, thank you.

Related Care2 Coverage

Manal al-Sharif Imprisoned For 10 More Days For Driving in Saudi Arabia


Photo from a screenshot of a video of Manal al-Sharif driving on May 19, 2011, posted by noramist on YouTube.


Chrissie R
Chrissie R13 days ago


Ken W.
Ken W4 years ago

Morality police ---- sounds like the GOP ----- if the GOP could get away with it !!!!!

Ken W.
Ken W4 years ago


KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago

Thank you for the bitter-sweet news. Signed.

Frank S.
6 years ago

Is this is the kind of disgraceful mentality, instilled by the religious leaders of the middle east in their followers? Unfortunately, some very religious people often believe anything said or written "by other men!"

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Lady Kaira
None None6 years ago

Glad she is free but a shame she had to sign a no more driving statement

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

I admire her courage, I hope that it will change things but I am shocked that she had to sign a document to say that she will not drive again.

Angela R.
Angela R6 years ago

Saudi ArabiA - Hmmm? The birthplace of the majority of the 911 attackers, the financial powerhouse of the arab world, and oh yeah - America's best friend in the region- WT*? So when are we going to OFFICIALLY denounce this piece of *#^% country?

ijaz khan
ijaz khan6 years ago

thanks for sharing

Robert B.
Robert B6 years ago

Morality police??!!!!!! What an utter absurdity!!!! If there is no actual law banning women from driving how can the police arrest them for a law that does not exist. Only in a backward country would what a cleric says overrule a country's judicial system.