Entries in Driving Ban (4)


King Abdullah Steps In; No Lashing for Female Saudi Driver

A Saudi woman gets out of a car after being given a ride by her driver. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images(JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia) -- Just two days after Saudi King Abdullah announced that women in Saudi Arabia would be permitted to vote in 2015, he has now called off the court-ordered lashing of Shaima Ghassaniya. The court sentenced Ghassaniya Monday to 10 lashes after finding the woman guilty of driving a car -- a punishable action for Saudi women.

Neither the royal court nor the Saudi government have issued official statements regarding the overturned sentence, but news spread after Saudi Princess Amira Al Taweel tweeted her reaction.

"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," she wrote.

The report has been confirmed by Arab news channel Al Arabiya.

Recently, Saudi women have protested the female driving ban, calling on women throughout the country to operate vehicles in defiance.  Some women have exposed themselves to risks of violence from Saudi men, to drive in protest of the ban.

An actual law forbidding women to drive does not exist in Saudi Arabia, according to The Washington Post. However, conservative religious orders do not allow Saudi women to drive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Saudi Women Take the Wheel; Clinton Says US Should Take Back Seat

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had yet to voice her support for Saudi women who have defied a ban on driving in the ultra-conservative kingdom, preferring, according to her spokesperson, to pursue “quiet diplomacy.”
But Tuesday that silence was broken when Clinton was asked why she had not spoken out. She called the women “brave” but her answer betrays the delicacy of the issue, noting that it is important that Saudi authorities realize this is not being pushed by foreign powers, but rather by Saudi women themselves.
Clinton says the matter has been raised at the “highest level” and emphasized how allowing women to drive will contribute to the stability and prosperity of Saudi Arabia.
“Let me start by saying that this is about Saudi women themselves. They have joined together. They are acting on behalf of their own rights. This is not about the United States. It is about the women of Saudi Arabia. And what these women are doing is brave and what they are seeking is right," Clinton said Tuesday.

She continued, "...I am moved by it and I support them, but I want to underscore the fact that this is not coming from outside of their country. This is the women themselves seeking to be recognized. And we have raised this issue at the highest level of the Saudi government."

As for what the U.S. will do, Clinton said that the United States will continue to urge foreign governments to address discrimination issues to ensure equal opportunities to women.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clinton Raises Women Drivers Ban with Saudi Prince; Still No Public Support

State Department photo(WASHINGTON) -- A growing number of Saudi women are defying the ultra-conservative country’s ban on women drivers by taking to the wheel in broad daylight. But despite their bravery, one of the world’s foremost advocates for women’s rights, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has been notably silent on the matter -- at least in public.
The State Department said Monday that Clinton raised the issue during a call with Saudi Prince Saud on Friday that also touched on the instability in Yemen and Syria.
But why not express her support in public for the budding grassroots movement?
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Monday that Clinton’s outreach, and that of other U.S. officials, is part of a “quiet diplomacy” being employed to pressure the Saudis on the matter.
“I don't think that the -- anybody can question the secretary's commitment to universal human rights for women,” she said when asked why Clinton hasn’t said anything yet.
“I think she is making a judgment on how best to support universal human rights for women. There are times when it makes sense to do so publicly, and there are times for quiet diplomacy,” Nuland added, hinting at the delicate relationship with Saudi Arabia, a strategic U.S. ally in a volatile region.
Nuland refused to reveal the Saudi reaction to the call.
“I'm not in a position to characterize how she felt about the phone call, other than to tell you that the issue did come up,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Saudi Female Driver Released from Jail; Quits Protest

Comstock Images/ThinkStock(DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia) -- After spending nine days in a women’s jail in Dammam, Saudi Arabia for driving, Manal Al Sharif has been freed. But in what is likely a condition of her release, she’s quitting the Women2Drive campaign, which appeals to Saudi authorities that women be allowed to drive. The women’s rights campaigner has allegedly written a pledge saying she will not drive a car again or participate in any upcoming protests.  

Since leaving jail,  Al Sharif has also issued a statement in which she addresses a woman’s right to drive. She writes, "I will leave it up to our Leader in whose discretion I entirely trust, to weigh the pros and cons and reach a decision that will take into consideration the best interests of the People, while also being pleasing to Allah, and in line with Divine Law."  

It is unclear at this point whether officials coerced Al Sharif into writing the pledge and giving up the campaign, but what is clear is that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not ready to drop the driving ban for women.

The Women2Drive group has been urging women to take part in a mass drive on June 17, but after Al Sharif’s arrest, many doubt this will now go ahead.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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