The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
Well actually the first women drivers were shortly after the Gulf War. They'd seen women GI's driving around, and thought, "Why not me?". Why not, indeed. So a group of them went out in a convoy. And got pulled over, of course. Then their husbands, fathers or other "responsible male" were pulled in. The women were only released when the men agreed to sign a form that they (i.e. the women) would not do it again (you see, women have few legal rights or obligations in their own name). Reputedly, these males then lost their jobs, although I haven't been able to verify that myself.
Anyway, we now have this story.
Woman Fined for Traffic Violation
DAMMAM, 7 March 2004 — A 60 year-old Saudi woman was compelled to pay a traffic violation for driving without license, Al-Watan reported. She had to pay the fine in order to renew her passport. The authorities refused to renew her passport until the fine had been paid. Her husband finally decided to pay the SR100 fine because he saw no reason to waste time going back and forth between the traffic department and the passport office.
How did this happen? Well, let me not slur the honor of our shawarma warriors, the Police, but they have been known to enter details of traffic offences into the Offences database without talking to the driver or issuing them a ticket. And they don't guarantee to get the right registration number. And the first that person knows about it is when they go to the airport. They are informed at the passport check that they have an outstanding violation, and may not leave the country until the fine is paid. Bit of a bummer if you were due to fly to the USA and it's Wednesday night, the start of the weekend, and you won't be able to get it sorted until Saturday. But you shouldn't live in Saudi Arabia if you don't have a sense of humor.
So I guess that's what happened to this poor lady. Wrong vehicle, wrong name. But it's always better just to pay the money than try and get it rectified thru the Civil Service, especially if you're the "wrong tribe". Who knows, next time they get booked for real, maybe some other poor sucker will pick up their fine.