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Saudi king 'revokes' woman driver's lashing sentence

Princess Amira Al Taweel tweets: Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled, thanks to our beloved King

  • AFP
  • Published: 22:32 September 28, 2011

Jeddah: Saudi King Abdullah has revoked a sentence of 10 lashes imposed on a woman for breaking the ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom, a Saudi princess said Wednesday on her Twitter account.

"Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King. I'm sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am," said Princess Amira Al Taweel, wife of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

"In tough times we stand together; in good times we celebrate together," the princess said. "I'm proud to be Saudi. To all Active Saudi women thank u for ur efforts."

Sheima Jastaniah was sentenced on Monday by a court in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, where she was caught driving in July, a rights activist said.

"We were shocked yesterday (Monday) that she was sentenced to 10 lashes," the activist said, adding Jastaniah would appeal the verdict.

The sentence came a day after the king announced women would be allowed to vote and to run in municipal polls, and to join the all-appointed Shura (consultative) Council, a first in a country that imposes many restrictions on women.

Amnesty International condemned the sentence, saying it demonstrated the "scale of discrimination against women in the kingdom."

"Flogging is a cruel punishment in all circumstances but it beggars belief that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have imposed lashes on a woman apparently for merely driving a car," Middle East and North Africa deputy director Philip Luther said in a statement.

"Belatedly allowing women to vote in council elections is all well and good, but if they are still going to face being flogged for trying to exercise their right to freedom of movement then the king's much-trumpeted 'reforms' actually amount to very little," he added.

"Saudi Arabia needs to go much further. The whole system of women's subordination to men in Saudi Arabia needs to be dismantled," added the official from the London-based advocacy group.

Comments (3)

  1. Added 14:40 September 29, 2011

    Hassan, underdeveloped neanderthals like you are the reason that they call the rest of the globe, the "third world."

    Jane, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:38 September 29, 2011

    There is a reason why these rules are in place in Saudi Arabia, it is to prevent the society from the TYPE of LIBERALISATION west have in mind, because of these regulations, the crime and obscenity rate in Saudi Arabia is far less than that of the west and even in some of the eastern countries PRETEND to be the biggest democracy. Women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to study and do all sort of social activities, but within the limits of hijab and modesty.

    Hassan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 11:13 September 29, 2011

    Why is the king has to be involved. Thanks to the king. But why can't the judges do this job. This is 2011, pls wake up Saudi society. Allow women to drive.

    Amit, Mumbai, India

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