Detained Saudi activists demanding women’s rights slammed as ‘traitors’

Vastavam Web: Seven people in Saudi Arabia, including four prominent women’s rights activists who campaigned for the right to drive, are being accused by state security of working with “foreign entities. The stunning arrests come before Saudi Arabia is set to lift the world’s only ban on women driving next month.

The Interior Ministry late Saturday did not name those arrested, but said the group is being investigated for communicating with “foreign entities” and providing money to foreign circles with the aim of destabilizing the kingdom.

Pro-government media have published the names of those detained, which include Loujain al-Hathloul and Aziza al-Yousef. Both are outspoken and well-known activists who’ve pushed for greater women’s rights.

A spokesman for the government did not immediately comment on the detentions, which were first publicized by Saudi opposition social media accounts.

The detentions came five weeks before women in Saudi Arabia will officially be permitted to drive – the fulfillment of a decades-long campaign by Saudi women’s rights activists, some of whom served jail time for protesting the ban.