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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saudis halt lashing sentence of woman driver


Saudis halt lashing sentence of woman driver
Member of royal family announces decision on Twitter
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has put a stop to the lashing of a woman who defied the kingdom's ban on female drivers, a government official said.
The official declined to elaborate. He spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

"Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King," Saudi Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel posted on her Twitter account Wednesday. "I'm sure all Saudi women will be so happy,I know I am."
Al-Taweel is the wife of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Amira. Al-Taweel said in a later post on twitter the prince had confirmed the sentence had been revoked by the king.

The driver, Shaima Jastaina, driving car was sentenced on Tuesday to be lashed 10 times with a whip for a violation of the longtime driving ban for women in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.

Normally, police just stop female drivers, question them and let them go after they sign a pledge not to drive again. But dozens of women have continued to take to the roads since June in a campaign to break the taboo. 
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women — both Saudi and foreign — from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
There are no written laws that restrict women from driving. Rather, the ban is rooted in conservative traditions and religious views that hold giving freedom of movement to women would make them vulnerable to sins.

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