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First Saudi women receive driving licenses amid crackdown

Last Updated Jun 4, 2018 at 9:54 am PDT

FILE - This Nov. 30, 2014 image made from video released by Loujain al-Hathloul, shows her driving towards the United Arab Emirates - Saudi Arabia border before her arrest on Dec. 1, 2014, in Saudi Arabia. The arrest of 10 women's rights advocates, including Al-Hathloul, just weeks before the kingdom is set to lift the world's only ban on women driving, on June 24, is seen as the culmination of a steady crackdown on anyone perceived as a potential critic of the government. Al-Hathloul in her late 20s is among the most outspoken women's rights activists in the kingdom. (AP Photo/Loujain al-Hathloul, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saudi Arabia has issued the first driving licenses to 10 women as it prepares to lift the world’s only ban on women driving on June 24, but the surprise move comes as a number of women who’d campaigned for the right to drive are under arrest.

The government issued a statement saying the 10 women were issued the licenses at the General Department of Traffic in the capital, Riyadh, on Monday. International media weren’t present for the event.

The women took a brief driving test before receiving their licenses as they’d already held driving licenses from other countries, including the U.K., Lebanon and Canada.

The surprise move comes as four iconic Saudi women’s rights activists who’d campaigned for the right to drive remain under arrest, facing possible trial.