A woman who was filmed behind the wheel of a car in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, has been cautioned by police, months before the ban on female drivers is due to be lifted.
Last month, King Salman announced that from June next year the ban would be lifted after years of campaigning by women’s rights activists.
The conservative Middle Eastern kingdom is the only country in the world where females are not permitted to drive.
The country also imposes a system of male “guardianship” where male relatives take legal responsibility for adult women.
With the change of the law not yet in place, authorities in the capital Riyadh booked the woman for breaching traffic violations after the video emerged of her driving away from a hotel in the city.
The car’s owner was also booked for violating traffic regulations, according to state news website Sabq, which also reported that her guardian had been asked to sign a pledge that she would not do it again.
“We call on all Saudi citizens to respect the law and wait until the ban on women driving formally ends”, a police spokesman said in a separate interview with the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency.
Not everyone welcomed the lifting of the driving ban however. A video recently emerged on Twitter which appeared to show a man threatening to kill any woman he saw driving after the ban is lifted.
The Interior Ministry said it had arrested a man on suspicion of making threats to kill women after he was heard saying that he would “burn” any woman he came across with a broken down car.
Before the announcement, a Saudi cleric attempted to justify the ban by saying women’s brains shrink to the quarter of the size of a man’s after they go shopping.
Saad al-Hijri, the head of fatwas (legal opinions) in the regional Assir governorate, was removed from preaching following his comments.
Saudi Arabia has attempted to enact several reforms to its economy and society since Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman rose to power.
Although his father, King Salman, remain’s the country’s ruler, the younger royal is believed to be the main architect of the new rules regarding female drivers.