A Saudi woman was pulled over by police, then fined, for driving while she was rushing herself to the hospital to receive treatment for a medical condition, a Saudi newspaper reported.
Aliyah Al-Farid, a member of Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights, was pulled over by police as she was driving to the hospital, the Saudi Gazette reported, quoting the Al-Hayat daily.
Al-Farid said no one else was available to drive her when she began to experience the medical emergency, the nature of which she did not disclose.
“I told the traffic officers that I had to drive because it was an emergency case,” Al-Farid later told reporters.
Police officers pulled her over while she was driving her husband’s car. Upon hearing where she was headed, they allowed her to proceed to the hospital but then waited for her outside while she was being treated, the Gazette reported.
Four police cars were waiting for her when she emerged from the hospital, and escorted her to the local Traffic Department office.
Her husband was also called in by police as Al-Farid had twice previously been detained for driving.
“I didn’t do it on purpose and I’m not after fame or media hype. I was very sick and that was it,” Al-Farid said.
In her work running a special needs center, Al-Farid admits she at times has to rush patients to the hospital on her own.
“We can’t leave an epileptic patient convulsing on the ground while waiting for our male driver to come and transport him to hospital,” she said according to the Gazette. “I have to get behind the steering wheel and do it.”
Following her detention, Al-Farid reportedly refused to sign a statement that she would not drive again. Al-Farid learned to drive in Bahrain, but Saudi Arabia prohibits women from operating motor vehicles.
The Saudi Gazette's Tuesday report did not note what day the incident occurred.
A similar incident occurred last year in Saudi Arabia when a Kuwaiti woman was arrested while she was driving her sick father – who was unable to drive due to a medical emergency - to the hospital.