Women in Saudi Arabia live under some of the world’s harshest restrictions on basic freedoms, including a de facto driving ban. But the 2011 Arab Spring and an accompanying campaign for driving rights have heralded new hope for Saudi women.
Ms. is deeply committed to reporting the news on Saudi women’s struggle as it happens. In this ongoing post, we will share live updates from Honk for Saudi Women and other sources on the ground in Saudi Arabia. Items marked BREAKING are unconfirmed real-time reports directly from anonymous sources; we will post links as information is confirmed.
The Right2Dignity campaign has received confirmed information that a list of Saudi women, who have driven and were stopped by the police officer, was transfered to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in preparation of their trials. … The Right2Dignity campaign calls on all women who have been harassed by security services or the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to contact the members of the Right2Dignity campaign in order to report all the actions that were taken against them. … The Right2Dignity campaign hopes that the Saudi authorities address the issue of women’s right to drive and depend on herself. This is required legally, according to Islamic Sharia, as well as international agreements that Saudi Arabia has ratified.
Read the rest of the statement here.
- 11:00 a.m. Al-Taweel has confirmed on her Twitter that Jastaina’s sentence to 10 lashes has been overturned: “yes it is official, Prince Alwaleed just confirmed it to me.”
- BREAKING 10:33 a.m. According to Princess @AmeerahAltaweel‘s twitter account, the decision to lash Jastaina for driving has been overruled: “
#women2drive Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is cancelled.Thanks to our beloved King. I’m sure all Saudi women will be so happy,I know I am”
- BREAKING 10:00 a.m. Right now Right2Dignity is sending telegrams to the King asking him to overturn this unjust sentence on Jastaina and to issue a clear decision on women’s driving, and we will commit ourselves in both cases.
- 12:50 p.m. International news sources confirm Madihah Al-Agroosh’s arrest on Tuesday night.
- 12:10 p.m. Amnesty International confirms that the woman who drove herself to the hospital, now identified as Shaima Jastaina, has been sentenced to 10 lashes.
- 11:30 a.m. Honk for Saudi women has launched a campaign on the new White House petition forum. Sign here to condemn Saudi Arabia for beating a woman for driving and to encourage our trading partner to let women get behind the wheel.
- BREAKING 10:36 a.m. Madeha Al-Ajroush was also detained today. Facebook and Twitter reports indicate that she was being interviewed by a reporter named Clarence Rodriguez when police stopped and arrested her. It’s unclear if Rodriguez has also been taken into custody.
- BREAKING 10:05 a.m. Madihah Al-Agroosh has reportedly been released after promising never to drive again. Turns out she wasn’t even driving, she was waiting for a taxi.
- BREAKING 9:04 a.m. Madihah Al-Agroosh is reportedly being arrested at this very moment, in front of her house, for driving. She is one of the women who drove in the original 1991 protest.
- BREAKING 8:30 a.m. The woman has been identified by the first name Shaima. She rejected the verdict and will appeal.
- 8:05 a.m. The Saudi woman who drove herself to the hospital has been sentenced to 10 lashes.
- Recent detentions of women who drive (despite the fact that it is not illegal, simply shunned) show that Saudi Arabia has no intention of allowing its guardianship culture to go quietly.
- King Abdullah has announced that women will be able to vote starting in 2015, but some are skeptical that this promise will be delivered on.
You can join several powerful global campaigns in support of Saudi women’s right to drive. Go here to email world leaders, go here to petition the White House, and sign below to contact King Abdullah:
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*** If you support Saudi women’s right to drive, participate in the viral Honk for Saudi Women video campaign. Say you support Saudi women’s driving rights, honk, upload the video to YouTube, and send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your video will join others from supporters worldwide on the channel http://www.youtube.com/honkforsaudiwomen. ***
All times are U.S. Pacific time.