She was taken into custody Saturday, not by the country's police - driving as a woman is not illegal - but by the mutaween, the "religious police" of Saudi Arabia. Her video provides "proof" of her alleged wrongdoing but it has also made her a cause célèbre.
The video was taken during a drive on the Friday prior to her arrest and may have alerted the religious police to al-Sharif as a person to watch. She was, after all, not merely a woman who drove and posted a video. She is also a leader in a campaign to secure the explicit right for women to drive in the religiously hyper-conservative country. "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself" had a Facebook page, which has since been taken down, though it appears a replacement has been started.
In addition to any claim for the inherent right to drive, some of the case built by al-Sharif and others was also on utility. "At least for times of emergency, God forbid. What if whoever is driving them gets a heart attack?'' she asked.
Al Jazeera reported that Al-Sharif herself was released from custody Sunday. She had originally to have been held for five days. Her brother Mohammed, who rode in the car with her, was also arrested.
According to France24:
"Al-Sharif was reportedly arrested on May 22 while driving, released for a few hours then taken back into custody. A Saudi security official said she is being accused of 'violating public order,' and will be held for five days while the case is investigated."