Cairo: A leading rights watchdog is accusing Saudi courts of empowering men to abuse their positions as guardians of female relatives.
The Human Rights Watch says the courts' rampant rulings in support of what is described as "unquestioned fatherly authority" deprives the women of basic rights in matters of marriage, divorce and parenthood.
The New York-based group raised the accusations in a report obtained Tuesday.
HRW spokesman Christoph Wilcke cites examples of Saudi fathers who force their daughters to get divorced and take the children away from them, leading to "unwarranted suffering."
HRW also cites the case of Saudi surgeon Samar Badawi, sentenced to six months in prison for disobeying her father who physically abused her, forced her to get divorced, and opposed her remarriage.