SAUDI ARABIA: A Jeddah court sentenced a woman to flogging after she drove a car against the Saudi law, Amnesty International reported on Tuesday.
According to the sentence, the Saudi woman will be given 10 lashes, whereas two other women ― one in Jeddah and one in al Khobar ― are believed to be facing similar charges.
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Philip Luther said:
“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”.
The news of the sentence came just two days after King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud announced that women will be allowed to stand for election and vote.
“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.”
“Saudi Arabia needs to go much further. The whole system of women’s subordination to men in Saudi Arabia needs to be dismantled.”
The interior minister has formally outlawed women from driving in Saudi Arabia since November 1990 when a group of 47 women were arrested and severely punished after demonstrating in cars.
Earlier, an online campaign active on Facebook and Twitter “Women2Drive” assembled Saudi women with international driving licenses to drive in order to protest against the ban.
(Read: Saudi women defy drive ban)
Corporal punishments like flogging are routinely sentenced in Saudi courts.