A Saudi man has been arrested for burning down a woman's brand-new car in the Saudi city of Taif, according to a police spokesperson.
This comes after a video documenting the suspect's crime was widely circulated on social media last week. The car owner, a teacher identified by her first name Amira, reportedly said the suspect was a relative who objected to women's right to drive in the country.
In September 2017, a royal decree lifted a long-standing ban on female drivers in the kingdom. While the news was widely celebrated across the world, some men who oppose the decision have threatened and harassed female drivers in the kingdom on several occasions.
The latest incident of the kind was brought to the public's attention last week, when a video shared online captured a man pouring gasoline over a car and setting it ablaze.
The suspect, a man in his 30s, completely burned down the vehicle on Thursday and fled to Jeddah, where he was arrested. While initial reports had suggested the man in the video was setting his sister's car on fire, Amira later clarified that the suspect was only a relative.
"I had just bought the car and I have a driver's licence," the victim told Al-Arabiya.
According to the Saudi Gazette, Amira said the suspect "had threatened and terrorized her because she wanted to drive like many other women in Saudi Arabia." She went on to say she plans to hire a lawyer to take the case to court.
Not the first incident of its kind
Ever since women took the wheel in the kingdom, there have been multiple reports of attacks targeting female drivers.
In July 2017, 33-year-old Salma Al Sharif reported that a group of men set her car on fire outside her home near Mecca, after they demanded she stops driving because it was "against the will of God." The suspects were arrested immediately but were later cleared of all charges for want of evidence.
In a similar incident that occurred in December, Jeddah resident Nurhan Bassam's brand-new car was burned down in front of her house.
In light of the attacks on female drivers, the official spokesman for the Mecca province police issued a statement assuring authorities would take strict measures against those who threaten the safety of Saudi citizens and expatriate residents, according to the Saudi Gazette.