In this March 29, 2014 file photo, Aziza al-Yousef drives a car on a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
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International rights groups have condemned the arrests this week of seven prominent Saudi Arabian women's rights activists who previously campaigned for the right to drive, which the deeply conservative kingdom is set to grant from next month.Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the authorities late on Friday to release the detainees, who include Eman al-Nafjan and Lujain al-Hathloul as well as two men.Activists and analysts say, however, that the government is keen to avoid rewarding activism, which is forbidden in the absolute monarchy, and seems determined not to antagonize sensitivities of religious conservatives opposed to modernisation.A state security statement did not identify the detainees, but online news site Sabq, seen as close to the authorities, linked them to the arrests of women activists.
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