Saudi women's rights activists arrested

Saudi Arabia has arrested at least eight people in an apparent crackdown on supporters of women activists on trial for campaigning for the right to drive, a rights group says.

London-based Saudi rights group ALQST said two US nationals were among those detained on Thursday: journalist Salah al-Haidar - whose mother Aziza al-Yousef is among those on trial - and doctor and author Bader al-Ibrahim.

The 11 women on trial had campaigned for the right to drive and an end to the kingdom's male guardianship system.

Their case has intensified Western criticism of Saudi Arabia's rights record, already in the spotlight after last year's murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.

Several other people close to the women have also been placed on travel ban since February, they added.

The Saudi government communications office and the US Embassy in Riyadh did not immediately respond to requests for comment.